Even 30 or more years after the end of a war, veterans can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the present study, we explored the influence on symptoms of PTSD among Iranian veterans of the Iran-Iraq war of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) as add-on to a standard treatment with citalopram. Forty-eight male veterans with PTSD (mean age: 52.97 years) took part in this eight-week intervention study. Standard treatment for all patients consisted of citalopram (30-50 mg/day at therapeutic dosages). Patients were randomly assigned either to the treatment or to the control condition. Treatment involved MBCT delivered in group sessions once a week. Patients in the control condition met at the hospital with the same frequency and duration for socio-therapeutic events. At baseline and at study completion, patients completed questionnaires covering symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress. At study completion after eight weeks, scores for PTSD (re-experiencing events, avoidance, negative mood and cognition, hyperarousal), depression, anxiety, and stress were lower, but more so in the intervention than the control group. Data suggest that, as adjuvant to standard SSRI medication, MBCT is an effective intervention to significantly reduce symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress among veterans.
Keywords: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy; PTSD; depression; stress; veterans.