New clinical trial for PTSD patients raises hopes
Doctors have begun a clinical trial in the UK to try to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder with a combination of medication and mindfulness meditation.
The trials will be conducted by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The study aims to find out if mindfulness meditation could be used as a treatment for patients with PTSD.
The Oxford University Research Centre for Psychotherapy (OUREP) has been collaborating with researchers from the University of Leeds, Imperial College London and the University Hospitação de Marias in Portugal to test the idea.
Dr Eileen Moulton, a lecturer in psychiatry at the University’s School of Medicine, said: ‘We want to make sure that these people have a chance of recovery from this.’
They have a very high level of risk for relapse, and it’s also a very common diagnosis for people with PTSD.’
‘We are looking at mindfulness meditation as a potential treatment for people suffering from post-trauma stress disorder’ she said.
‘We will be testing a number of different techniques to try and see if mindfulness can reduce the symptoms of PTSD and, if so, to what extent it can reduce symptoms.’
Dr Moulington said it was important that people were not only able to manage the symptoms, but also be able to learn new skills that could help them cope with their symptoms.
‘They have this sense of being trapped in this world that is difficult to get out of, but there is a way of overcoming that, she said of people with depression.
‘In the long term, we hope to find a way to use mindfulness meditation to help people who are suffering from PTSD.
‘It could be a way for them to have some sense of control over their own life and get some sort of therapeutic benefit from that.’
The Oxford researchers will be using an MRI scanner and computer-based cognitive behavioural therapy to examine people who have been diagnosed with PTSD and find out how they feel.
This research will be carried out by Dr Moulston and Dr Matthew Green from the Oxford Psychiatry Centre.
‘The idea of this is to look at people who, after they’ve been diagnosed, are actually using mindfulness meditation in order to manage their symptoms, and to understand what that might be doing to their brain’ Dr Green said.
Dr Mulsons study will also look at the effects of mindfulness meditation on patients who have also had a stroke or had a heart attack.
The researchers are hoping to begin the trials in late 2018.
‘There are some really interesting clinical trials coming out of Oxford this year, and I think the Oxford university is the first institution to have done a randomized controlled trial on mindfulness meditation, and we have just started that research,’ Dr Green added.
‘These people are really vulnerable to relapse, which is very common in people with the disorder.’
If you get that diagnosis after a stroke, for example, it can take a while for people to recover from the damage that they have caused to their bodies and minds.’
The researchers say the aim of the trial is to determine if mindfulness meditating would be effective for people who experience post-transcendental trauma.
The research will take place in Oxford’s Neuropsychiatry Unit, where Dr Moultons colleagues are based.
She said: The idea of having this type of research going on in Oxford is really exciting, because it gives us the chance to look into the mechanisms of the brain in a way that is really novel.’
It also means we can learn more about the mechanisms that are involved in this type, so that we can develop better treatments for this kind of condition.’