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How Mindfulness Meditation Can Help Relieve PTSD & Depression

While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are very different mental health conditions, they often occur at the same time. In fact, approximately half of all people with PTSD also have a co-occurring major depressive disorder.  This is likely due to a number of factors, including increased trauma, genetics, and overlapping symptoms between the two conditions. For example, both PTSD and depression significantly affect your mood, energy level, and emotions in a negative manner.

Fortunately, there is a method of treatment that doesn’t involve the use of medication that can be used to relieve symptoms of both these conditions known as mindfulness meditation. In this brief article, we’ll explain what mindfulness meditation is and how it can be used for depression and PTSD treatment in Wesley Chapel. For a board-certified psychiatrist that specializes in the MindBody approach to Behavioral Health, customized-short term treatments, and patient-centered care, get in touch with Maulik K. Trivedi, M.D.

Related: PTSD Treatment: Know Your Options

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is a non-religious, non-dogmatic practice that can be traced back to Eastern contemplative practice. Its popularity in recent years has been bolstered by a growing body of research demonstrating that it reduces stress and anxiety, promotes self-regulation and empathy, improves attention and memory, and much more. But what exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mental state that involves being fully focused on the present moment, allowing the individual to acknowledge and accept thoughts, feelings, or sensations without judgment. Practicing mindfulness often involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices designed to relax the body and mind and relieve stress. For example, you might take the time during mindfulness meditation to slow down and experience things in your environment with all of your senses — touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste. You may also take a deep breath, close your eyes, and focus on the feeling of your breath as it moves in and out of your body.

Related: Understanding the MindBody Approach to Depression and Anxiety

The Science Behind How Mindfulness Meditation Can Relieve PTSD & Depression

Historically, the most effective treatment approach for PTSD and depression has been trauma-focused therapy, which encourages individuals to directly confront their traumatic memories and recognize that they are no longer dangerous. This approach, however, can be extremely difficult, and some patients are unable to endure it. What mindfulness meditation acts as is a kind of Plan B — a form of depression treatment in Wesley Chapel that can be available for those who aren’t ready or aren’t willing to do trauma-focused therapy.

During mindfulness meditation, patients with PTSD and depression are able to get back in touch with the present moment and reduce the extent to which they feel controlled by unpleasant thoughts or traumatic memories. A number of research studies, for example, demonstrate that this approach can help individuals better cope with intrusive thoughts and memories and be more equipped to handle emotional distress. It can also help patients breach the wall of solitary shame and guilt, particularly when performed in a group setting with other patients with PTSD and depression. The science behind this is that mindfulness meditation is actually producing long-lasting changes in the structure of the brain, particularly in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for the ability to consciously shift attention from one thing to another.

If you believe you could benefit from mindfulness meditation, yoga, spiritual awareness cultivation, cognitive behavioral therapy, or any other MindBody Care modalities provided by Dr. Trivedi, don’t hesitate to get in touch regarding PTSD treatment in Wesley Chapel.

To schedule a consultation with Maulik K. Trivedi, M.D., for depression treatment in Wesley Chapel, please request an appointment today.

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