A new study has found that cognitive therapy based on mindfulness can effectively help in preventing relapse in those people who are on long-term use of anti-depressant drugs.
The researchers explain mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a structured form of training for the body and mind. The main aim of the therapy is to change the way in which people feel and think about their experiences.
Alike anti-depressants, MCBT can also offer similar protection against relapse or recurrence from depression in those people experiencing multiple depression episodes. Moreover, MCBT has no significant difference in cost.
Willem Kuyken, study lead author and professor of clinical psychology at University of Oxford, said, “Depression is a recurrent disorder. Without ongoing treatment, as many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point.”
Richard Byng, study co-author and professor from Plymouth University, said presently the maintenance of anti-depressant drugs is the key treatment process for relapse prevention, reducing the possibility of relapse or recurrence by roughly two-thirds when consumed in correct manner.
“There are many people who are unable to keep on a course of medication for depression for a number of reasons. Many people do not wish to remain on medication for indefinite periods, or cannot tolerate its side effects,” Byng said.
For the study, the researchers involved 424 adult participants having recurrent major depression. All the participants consumed maintenance anti-depressant drug which were recruited from 95 primary care general practices in the South West of England.
The researchers randomly assigned the participants to come off their drug for anti-depressant slowly and get MBCT (212 participants) or to stay on their medication (212 participants).
In both groups, the rates of relapse in over two years were similar, i.e. 44 percent in the MBCT group against 47 percent in the maintenance anti-depressant medication group.
The study showed that MBCT is able to provide an alternative non-drug treatment for the people suffering from depression.
The findings of the study were detailed in the journal The Lancet.