Mindfulness therapy 'an effective alternative to antidepressants'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new UK study has demonstrated that mindfulness-based therapy can be a viable alternative to maintenance antidepressant medication for reducing the risk of relapse in depression.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a form of structured training for the mind and body which helps people change the way they think and feel about their experiences. It can be a cost-effective and drug-free means of treating depression.

“Mindfulness-based therapy could offer an effective alternative to antidepressants for preventing depression relapse, according to a new study.“

The new University of Oxford study recruited 424 adults with recurrent major depression and taking maintenance antidepressants and randomised them to either receive MBCT training or to stay on their medication.

It was shown that MBCT offered similar protection against depressive relapse or recurrence for people who have experienced multiple episodes of depression, with no significant difference in cost.

Willem Kuyken, lead author and professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford, said: "We believe these results suggest a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions."

The technique helps people who have experienced repeated bouts of depression to learn skills that allow them to recognise and respond constructively to depressive thoughts and feelings.

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