The prevalence of post-deployment mental health conditions is high. Deployment to a war zone is associated with a threefold increase in new-onset posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often co-occurring with depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, sleep disturbance, and chronic pain and resulting in high long-term personal and societal costs. High prevalence, combined with the complex chronic debilitating nature of post–deployment mental health conditions, makes the development of cost-effective self-management modalities of great public health importance. Meditation is safe, affordable, portable, and easy to learn and teach; the increasing evidence of its effectiveness as an adjunct to standard care positions it as a cost-effective self-management approach. This presentation will discuss neuroimaging and clinical studies, potential mechanisms, level of evidence, and clinical recommendations regarding the use of meditation as a self-care adjunct to standard care of depression, PTSD, anxiety, substance-use disorders, and commonly co-occurring sleep disturbance and chronic pain.

Marina Khusid

Deployment Health Clinical Center, University of Illinois at Chicago