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Treating PTSD in Veterans Using Mantram Repetition

Am J Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Jun 20; Bormann, et al

In a sample of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), individually delivered “mantram” (scared word) repetition therapy was generally more effective than present-centered therapy for reducing PTSD symptom severity and insomnia. This according to a recent 2-site, open-allocation, blinded-assessment randomized trial involving 173 veterans diagnosed with military-related PTSD from 2 Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics (January 2012 to March 2014). The mantram group (n=89) learned skills for silent mantram repetition, slowing thoughts, and 1-pointed attention. The comparison group (n=84) received present-centered therapy, focusing on currently stressful events and problem-solving skills. Researchers found:

  • The mantram group had significantly greater improvements in CAPS score than the present-centered therapy group, both at the posttreatment assessment and at the 2-month follow-up.
  • Self-reported PTSD symptom severity was also lower in the mantram group compared with the present-centered therapy group at the posttreatment assessment, but there was no difference at the 2-month follow-up.
  • Significantly more participants in the mantram group (59%) than in the present-centered therapy group (40%) who completed the 2-month follow-up no longer met criteria for PTSD.


Bormann JE, Thorp SR, Smith E, et al. Individual treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder using mantram repetition: A randomized clinical trial. [Published online ahead of print June 20, 2018]. Am J Psychiatry. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17060611.