‘Mindfulness’ seen as alternative treatment for depression

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Therapy based on the controversial concept of ‘mindfulness’ works as well as some anti-depressant drugs, according to a major new study.

MBCTInspired in part by Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness involves training the brain to deal with negative emotions using techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and yoga.

Some critics have claimed mindfulness techniques can bring on panic attacks and lead to paranoia, delusions or depression. But the new study – the largest-ever analysis of research on the subject – found mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) helped people just as much as commonly prescribed anti-depressant drugs and that there was no evidence of any harmful effects.

People suffering from depression who received MBCT were 31 per cent less likely to suffer a relapse during the next 60 weeks, the researchers reported in a paper in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. …

Professor Kuyken, an Oxford University clinical psychologist and director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, [said] … “It’s a sort of mental training. It’s about training the mind so people can see negative thoughts, negative feelings, the early signs of a depressive relapse, and learn the skills to respond to those in a way that makes them more resilient.”

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