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Psychiatry Res. 2018 Apr;262:328-332. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.006. Epub 2017 Jan 26.

The effect of mindfulness meditation training on biological acute stress responses in generalized anxiety disorder.

Author information

1
Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA. Electronic address: eah103@georgetown.edu.
2
Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.

Abstract

Mindfulness-Based interventions have increased in popularity in psychiatry, but the impact of these treatments on disorder-relevant biomarkers would greatly enhance efficacy and mechanistic evidence. If Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is successfully treated, relevant biomarkers should change, supporting the impact of treatment and suggesting improved resilience to stress. Seventy adults with GAD were randomized to receive either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or an attention control class; before and after, they underwent the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Area-Under-the-Curve (AUC) concentrations were calculated for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and pro-inflammatory cytokines. MBSR participants had a significantly greater reduction in ACTH AUC compared to control participants. Similarly, the MBSR group had a greater reduction in inflammatory cytokines' AUC concentrations. We found larger reductions in stress markers for patients with GAD in the MBSR class compared to control; this provides the first combined hormonal and immunological evidence that MBSR may enhance resilience to stress.

KEYWORDS:

Acute stress; Anxiety; Meditation; Mindfulness-based intervention; Psychological stress; Resilience; Stress reactivity

PMID:
28131433
PMCID:
PMC5526744
[Available on 2019-04-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.006

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