mindfulness meditation and depression

there’s an arsenal of treatments at hand, including talk therapy and antidepressant medications, but what’s depressing in itself is that they don’t work for every patient. still, there are a handful of key areas — including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety — in which well-designed, well-run studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects similar to other existing treatments. her experience convinced her that something real was happening to her and prompted her to study the subject more closely, in hopes of shedding enough light to underpin therapy that might help others.

in her current work, she is exploring meditation’s effects on the brains of clinically depressed patients, a group for whom studies have shown meditation to be effective. desbordes is part of a community of researchers at harvard and its affiliated institutions that in recent decades has been teasing out whether and how meditation works. the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy used in desbordes’ current work is a variation on that program and incorporates elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves talk therapy effective in treating depression. read more  burnout is inevitable in a system set up to squeeze all the juice out of its workforce.

a new study on the approach to be published in a forthcoming issue of the lancet found that mbct helped prevent depression recurrence as effectively as maintenance antidepressant medication did. evidence also suggests that mbct may be of more help to patients most vulnerable to relapse: people with a greater number of prior episodes or who had residual depressive symptoms. “it may be that mindfulness leads to an increase in self-compassion and a decrease in experiential avoidance,” says stuart eisendrath, md, professor and head of the depression center at the university of california, san francisco.

or, in the case of people who have recovered from depression, blaming themselves for feeling down again or worrying about a relapse. “for people with residual symptoms, or who have treatment-resistant depression, mbct can be sequenced with antidepressant medication and with cognitive-behavioral therapy to help prevent the recurrence of relapse,” segal says. in a study by filip raes, phd, of the university of leuven and colleagues, 408 13- to 20-year-olds participated in a school-based mbct program in belgium. to the latter, he and a team of researchers at the center have come up with a new way to measure how well people learn mindfulness — not with brain scans, but in a person’s skill in counting his or her own breaths, which he found was associated with more meta-awareness, less mind wandering and a better mood (frontiers in psychology, 2014).

created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different depression affects about 20% of adults ages 65 and older. antidepressants and psychotherapy are the usual first-line treatments, but research suggests that if you live with depression, you could have chronic symptoms, like a generally low mood you can’t shake. or you might have major depressive, .

“individual cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for many people; antidepressant medications help many people. but it’s also the case that new research suggests that practicing mindfulness may help prevent a depression relapse. some evidence suggests that emotional regulation, the set of strategies and processes that shape the experience and expression of emotions (, .

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