Mindfulness-based therapy may soon make antidepressant pills history

A new study has revealed that mindfulness-based therapy could offer a new treatment choice for millions of people with recurrent depression.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could provide an alternative non-drug treatment for people who do not wish to continue long-term antidepressant treatment.

The results come from the first ever large study to compare MBCT – structured training for the mind and body which aims to change the way people think and feel about their experiences, with maintenance antidepressant medication for reducing the risk of relapse in depression.

The study aimed to establish whether MBCT was superior to maintenance antidepressant treatment in terms of preventing relapse of depression.

Although the findings showed that MBCT wasn’t any more effective than maintenance antidepressant treatment in preventing relapse of depression, the results, combined with those of previous trials, suggested that MCBT might offer similar protection against depressive relapse or recurrence for people who have experienced multiple episodes of depression, with no significant difference in cost.

Professor Sarah Byford, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s

College London, said that as a group intervention, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was relatively low cost compared to therapies provided on an individual basis and, in terms of the cost of all health and social care services used by participants during the study, they found no significant difference between the two treatments.

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