Are you finally done with antidepressants?
The study aimed to establish whether MBCT is superior to maintenance antidepressant treatment in terms of preventing relapse of depression. Although the findings show that MBCT isn’t any more effective than maintenance antidepressant treatment in preventing relapse of depression, the results, combined with those of previous trials, suggest that MCBT may offer similar protection against depressive relapse or recurrence for people who have experienced multiple episodes of depression, with no significant difference in cost.
Over 2 years, relapse rates in both groups were similar (44% in the MBCT group vs 47% in the maintenance antidepressant medication group). Although five adverse events were reported, including two deaths, across both groups, they were not judged to be attributable to the interventions or the trial.
According to study co-author Professor Sarah Byford, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, UK, “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, we found no significant difference between the two treatments.”
According to Professor Kuyken, “Whilst this study doesn’t show that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works any better than maintenance antidepressant medication in reducing the rate of relapse in depression, we believe these results suggest a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions.”
In so many ways, the above linked is not news — psychology has known for years that drugs are not the only or necessarily even the best treatment for depression. It’s no surprise that yet another study has found that therapy is as good or even slightly better then the drug route.
But, in another way, this is most news worthy.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a grand sounding name for something that is both incredibly simple and drastically limited when considered against all of the other tools we have for non-drug related treatment of depression.
MBCT is simply teaching a person to be aware/accepting of thoughts and feelings, to remain detached from them and not react to them — perhaps choosing to change a reaction into a reflection.
Yes, that’s it…
It doesn’t involve skills at processing pain, addressing emotions, learning about the self, finding general health, coping with trauma, addressing stories from a family of origin, dealing with triggers, coping with lies about God or even getting basic needs met in relationship. (Or about 20 more areas needing to be addressed in the treatment of depression…)
And, that one, simple, incredibly limited technique still worked as good or possibly even slightly better then drugs.
It’s almost redundant to even say it but, yes, therapy is a remarkably effective cure for depression!!!