Mindfulness–focusing on the breath along with any associated feelings and bodily sensations–is the simplest and one of the most researched forms of meditation.When integrated into cognitive or behavioral treatments –an approach called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)–it has been proven in randomized trials to be highly successful in treating a range of psychiatric conditions, something to which Basant K. Pradhan, MD,can at test.
An assistant professor of psychiatry and founding director of Cooper’s Yoga-Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy program, Dr. Pradhan is nationally recognized for his expertise in yoga- meditation in mental health.He has developed evidence-based MBCT protocols– used with both adults and children–that he currently isusing in a study with 15 patients aged 7 to 17 to help ameliorate clinical symptoms and improve coping skills. All have been diagnosed with ADHD, and some with such concomitant conditions as autism spectrum disorder,anxiety,depression,anger issues, cyclic vomiting and recurrent abdominal pain. All began the study taking a variety of medications to manage symptoms.
“We’ve seen a lot of progress, sometimes after just two or three sessions,”Dr.Pradhan reports, contrasting this with the six months it usually takes to determine pharmacologic efficacy. “Half of the patients are doing fine without medication.
Notably, many parents of the study participants are adopting the MBCT protocols for their own benefit, including stress reduction. “Kids don’t know how to help themselves,”Dr.Pradhan notes. “This gives them tools so they don’t feel isolated and overwhelmed, without any side effects.”