A new intervention for depression has taken form. Mindful-based cognitive therapy is a good substitute to antidepressants for people who do not want to rely indefinitely on pills, according to a British study published in The Lancet.
The research sought to test the effectivity of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in lowering the risk of relapse for people with chronic depression. Based on the findings, they learned that it yielded the same result as antidepressants.
Depression and relapse
According to the Head of Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago Dr. Roger Mulder, “Depression frequently 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.”
Usually, doctors prescribe long-term anti-depressants for individuals with recurrent depression. Now, patients who do not want to take them have been given an alternative.
Findings of the study
In this study, the scientists gathered 212 people with recurring depression and got them on a course of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy while reducing their medication doses.
The respondents participated in group sessions when they were taught guided meditation and mindfulness skills. The therapy strived to help the mind focus on the present, spot the early symptoms of depression and react to them in a manner that would not cause a relapse.
The outcome indicated that people in the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy group and those in the medication group showed a similar incidence of relapse. This leads scientists to conclude that mindless-based cognitive therapy is a useful option for people refusing to undergo long-term medication.
Dr. Gwen Adshead, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, provides a noteworthy comment on the study. He says, “These findings are important from the point of view of people living with depression who are trying to engage in their own recovery.” He explains that the study is an evidential indicator that mindfully-based cognitive therapy is an intervention that physicians should seriously consider.
The conclusion of the study says, “[the therapy] may be a new choice for millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions.”
Limitations and considerations
Not all types of depression can benefit from mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, however. The study merely provides evidence that on some level, the therapy may be an alternative to medication, provided it is strictly necessary.
Experts say that patients should only reduce their dose of medication under supervision and with guidance from their primary care physicians. For severe cases of depression, drugs are still necessary interventions. Other experts say that there need to be more researches to further test effectivity of mindfully-based cognitive therapy.