Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Mindfulness therapy works as well as anti-depressant drugs, major new study finds

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Ian Johnson:
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Therapy based on the controversial concept of ‘mindfulness’ works as well as some anti-depressant drugs, according to a major new study.
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Inspired in part by Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness involves training the brain to deal with negative emotions using techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and yoga.
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Some critics have claimed mindfulness techniques can bring on panic attacks and lead to paranoia, delusions or depression.
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But the new study – the largest-ever analysis of research on the subject – found mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) helped people just as much as commonly prescribed anti-depressant drugs and that there was no evidence of any harmful effects.
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People suffering from depression who received MBCT were 31 per cent less likely to suffer a relapse during the next 60 weeks, the researchers reported in a paper in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
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Professor Willem Kuyken, the lead author of the paper, said: “This new evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy … is very heartening.
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“While MBCT is not a panacea, it does clearly offer those with a substantial history of depression a new approach to learning skills to stay well in the long-term.”
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Professor Kuyken, an Oxford University clinical psychologist and director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, and other experts around the world have set themselves an ambitious target.
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“We need to do more research, however, to get recovery rates closer to 100 per cent and to help prevent the first onset of depression, earlier in life,” he said.
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“These are programmes of work we are pursuing at the University of Oxford and with our collaborators around the world.”
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He stressed that while mindfulness may share a “lineage” with Buddhism and other “contemplative traditions”, the way it was used in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was “entirely secular”.
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“It makes complete sense to me that this wonderful faculty of thinking can both get us into trouble and also get us out of trouble,” Professor Kuyken said.
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“It’s a sort of mental training. It’s about training the mind so people can see negative thoughts, negative feelings, the early signs of a depressive relapse, and learn the skills to respond to those in a way that makes them more resilient.”
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A woman in one of his classes would start to have thoughts such as “I’m no good, I’m not a very good mother, I’m going to mess up my children and they are going to suffer from depression as I do”, he said.
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But, after the training, Professor Kuyken said the woman was “able to recognise her negative thoughts as negative thoughts not facts, and not engage with them as much”.
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“She developed a metaphor of a wrecking ball. Instead of being knocked over, she’d stand back and let the wrecking ball swing through her mind,” he added.
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Mindfulness has won the backing of NHS advisory body, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), and the Mental Health Foundation research charity. A study published in the Lancet last year also found mindfulness could be as effective as drugs.
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A Question from a viewer, Nik, how do I begin, where do I start????

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This post is three years old but just as relevant today.

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Nik, has recently experienced a full blown trigger with a big cortisol shock and panic feelings. Also he inquires how to deplete cortisol and begin healing.
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let me set the stage by describing our attitude towards healing, our practice; No right or wrong, good or bad, judgments or dialogue is involved. Cognitive thought and dissociation are the culprits of strengthening PTSD.
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Print out this simple model, a continuum of inhales, exhales and pauses without any counting, abstract thought or places to get lost. We will address this as a focus skill for the moment, no more no less. Mindfulness brings many connotations and judgments, so we practice this focus skill for now.
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Place your finger on the bottom right corner, starting the inhale, followed by the arched pause, where we hold our breath, before exhaling slowly. Then we pause again before starting a brand new cycle.
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The goal is to train the mind to slow down and let go of thought. The mind wants to go fast, activate the sympathetic nervous system, fill with adrenaline and cortisol, as usual.
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At first keep your eyes open, focusing on the rhythm of the breath as you slow it down. The inhales and exhales are equal, as are the two pauses, a sort of music symphony of the breath.
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Feel the cool inhales, feel the warmer exhales, and balance the body and breath with equal pauses. The inhale sets the pace, speed and duration of the balancing exhale. The first pause after the inhale, is matched by second pause after the exhale, giving the breath a sort of slow melodic feel.
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If a thought emerges, come back to the model, that is it. practice ten minutes twice a day for a week without judgment or goals, except to practice everyday.
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Let us round off the start with “Affirmations” said out loud and recorded everyday. In the shower, driving, working or before bed.
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I strive to accept all of me, the human strengths and frailties, the flawed and exceptional me, as well.
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I strive to accept my current position in life with gratitude, staying present to live fully today.
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I strive to take action in the face of distraction and thought, today!
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good luck, act, give up thinking for a while.
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Nothing can be changed, altered, improved until awareness arrives

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Beech Forest, Germany: Photograph by Martin Hertel, Your Shot
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“Awareness is the greatest alchemy there is.
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Just go on becoming more and more aware,
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and you will find your life
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changing for the better in every possible dimension.
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It will bring great fulfillment.”
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Osho

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The Self

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Pieter de Molijn, Dutch, 1595-1661
Prince Maurits and Prince Frederik Hendrik Going to the Chase, 1625
Oil on wood panel
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“Buddhas Brain”
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“The point is to see through the self and let it relax and disperse.”
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We look before and after, .

A Summer Night

WINSLOW HOMER: “Summer night” – 1890 – oil on canvas, 76.7- 102 cm. – Paris, Musée d’ Orsay
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We look before and after,
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And pine for what is not;
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Our sincerest laughter
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With some pain is fraught;
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Our sweetest songs are those
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that tell of saddest thought.
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~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ode to a Sky Lark”
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Asleep or Awake?

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ARMAND GUILLAUMIN: “Soleil couchant à Ivry (sunset at Ivry)”, 1873 – oil on canvas, 81-65 cm. – Musée d’Orsay, Paris
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Human suffering,
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while it is asleep,
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is shapeless.
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If it is wakened
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it takes the form
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of the waker.
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Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
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We are what we perceive and accept.
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Our judgments become reality, engulfing every waking moment.
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All that exists in this life is this next breath.
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Accept the next seemingly boring, mundane moment as the entire universe.
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Counting our Blessings

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Pantanal, Brazil: Photograph by Mike Bueno
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Better to lose count
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while naming your blessings
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than to lose your blessings
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to counting your troubles.
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~Maltbie D. Babcock~
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What fires together,
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wires together.
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Where we place attention grows,
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where we withhold withers and dies.
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