A recent study has shown that recurrent depression might be prevented if the affected people practice mindfulness therapy. The research consistent of a thorough analysis of previous studies on the history of depression.
Psychiatrist Dr. Ami Baxi from the Lenox Hill Hospital from New York City has explained that this type of cognitive therapy based on mindfulness increases the awareness of experiencing both emotions and thoughts and thus enables the creation of skills that help in coping with them.
The study was lead by Willem Kuyken from the University of Oxford, England. Together with his team, he analyzed the results of nine studies that were previously published. The researchers took a close look at no less than 1,300 patients who presented recurring depression episodes. By comparing the effectiveness of depression care and treatments with mindfulness therapy, they arrived at the conclusion that meditation is more powerful than antidepressants.
The patients were monitored for sixty days, after which it appeared that the patients who went through mindfulness therapy were less likely to experience a depression relapse, as compared to the people who received normal care. Additionally, they presented the same risk as the individuals who received active treatments.
Furthermore, the researchers believe this type of meditation has other hidden great benefits for those suffering from severe depression. According to Richard Davidson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
“Mindfulness practices were not originally developed as therapeutic treatments. They emerged originally in contemplative traditions for the purposes of cultivating well-being and virtue. The questions of whether and how they might be helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression and other related psychopathologies are quite new, and the evidence base is in its embryonic stage.”
Davidson concluded that in spite of the study being the most comprehensive on the matter, it also adds many questions. Additional research is greatly needed, as underlined by the limited nature of the evidence of the research.
On the other hand, senior clinical psychologist Jill Emanuele from the Child Mind Institute, New York City, strongly believes that mindfulness therapy is improving the overall well-being of those suffering from depression, based on her results with the children, teenagers, and adults she has worked with. She also argued that this approach has increasingly been proven to increase the awareness of thoughts and emotions, but also the capability of effectively regulating and coping with them.
The results were published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal on April 27.
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