Reduction of autonomic arousal in alcoholics: A comparison of relaxation and meditation techniques

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Investigated and compared the effects of progressive relaxation training and meditation training on autonomic arousal in alcoholics with 30 Ss (mean age, 45.1 yrs) who were selected from a hospital substance-abuse program. The Ss were randomly assigned to 1 of the following 3 experimental conditions: (a) progressive relaxation training group, (b) meditation training group, or (c) quiet rest control group. All groups met for 3 wks during which state anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), blood pressure, heart rate, and spontaneous GSRs were measured. The measures were designed to assess the treatment effects following the 1st training session and at the end of the total training period. Results indicate that both progressive relaxation training and medication training are useful for reducing blood pressure in alcoholics. In addition, significant differences between the groups in the effectiveness of the relaxation procedures were found. Meditation training induced blood pressure decreases at an earlier point in the 3-wk training period and affected decreases in systolic blood pressure that progressive relaxation training did not. Results support the idea of considerable specificity of response to relaxation techniques. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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