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Could mindfulness-based therapy be the solution to your depression?

by , 28 April 2015

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy might offer an alternative for people with depression who don't want to take antidepressants long-term, British researchers say.

Their study, published online in The Lancet on April 21, revealed this new therapy is AS effective as antidepressant drugs in preventing a recurrence of depression over a two-year period.

If you suffer from depression, keep reading to find out more.

Take control of your depression with mindfulness-based therapy
 

Since depression is a recurring and relapsing disorder, “people suffering from it are wise to look at ways of maintaining wellness after their depressive symptoms have resolved,” says Dr Roger Mulder, head of psychological medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand. 
 
And mindfulness-based cognitive therapy appears to offer one way of doing this.
 
Even better, this therapy doen’t cost any no more than medication and has no side effects.
 
But what exactly is mindfulness-based therapy?
 
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How the therapy helps treat depression
 

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy brings together two treatment approaches:
 
Guided mindfulness practices (which aim to increase awareness of negative spirals); and
Aspects of cognitive behavioural training (a short-term therapy that teaches skills to help resist or counter damaging thoughts or moods).
 
The programme trains your mind and body to respond more constructively to experiences. It hopes to prevent another slide into depression.
 
“Much like with cognitive behavioural therapy, people being treated with mindfulness therapy initially see their therapist on a weekly basis. They then taper off to less frequent sessions as skills are built before ending the treatment,” explains, Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City
 

New study proves that mindfulness-based therapy is the way forward
 

In a new study, researchers assigned 424 people with major depression to either mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or antidepressants. 
 
Participants on the therapy option attended eight group sessions. Each session was two hours and 15 minutes long. Researchers also gave participants techniques to practice at home. Therapy sessions included guided mindfulness practice, group discussion and other behavioural exercises. After the sessions ended, they had the option of attending four more sessions over a year.
 
Those assigned to antidepressants continued their medication for two years, the researchers said.
 
Over those two years, the relapse rates were 44% in the therapy group and 47% in the medication group. While a small difference, the real victory is that those undergoing mindfulness-based therapy didn’t have to take any harmful drugs to get these results.  
 
As Rigo explain: Cognitive therapy “works by teaching patients how to examine and refute their unrealistically negative thoughts. Mindfulness training comes from an Eastern meditation tradition. How it prevents depression is still a mystery,” he adds.
 
If you suffer from depression or know someone who does, this is worth a try. Medications can have long-term side effects whereas this therapy has none. Do yourself the favour. It’s certainly the healthier choice!

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