The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point

Mindfulness, as good as antidepressants for depression

That’s the conclusion from this study at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, in Ontario.

First, the details.

  • 160 adults patients with major depressive disorder and a minimum of 2 past episodes were included in the study.
  • Of these, 84 achieved remission and were assigned to 1 of the 3 treatment groups.
    • Discontinued their antidepressants and attended 8 weekly group sessions of Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
    • Continued their therapeutic dose of antidepressant medication
    • Discontinued active medication and were switched to placebo
  • Relapse was defined as a return, for at least 2 weeks, of symptoms sufficient to meet the criteria for major depression on module A of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV.

And, the results.

  • There was no significant difference in relapse rates: 38% for MBCT, 46% for antidepressant maintenance, 60% for placebo.
  • MBCT and antidepressant maintenance significantly reduced the risk for relapse in unstable remitters (ie, responders to treatment) compared to placebo.
  • For stable remitters, there was no significant difference in relapse rates between the 3 groups: 62% for MBCT, 59% for antidepressant maintenance, and 50% for placebo

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “For those unwilling or unable to tolerate maintenance antidepressant treatment, MBCT offers equal protection from relapse during an 18-month period.”

The authors recommend to continue at least 1 long-term active treatment (MBCT or antidepressants) in unstable remitters.

Background on mindfulness is here.

12/10/10 21:20 JR

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