Mindfulness as Effective as Medication in Preventing Relapse in Depression – Research

Mindfulness as Effective as Medication for Relapse

Mindfulness – the practice of attending to thoughts and feelings in the present moment – has been the focus of a lot of research attention recently and even under the full glare of science, it just keeps getting better.

In the first ever large scale study of its kind, researchers explored whether teaching people mindfulness would be as effective as maintenance doses of antidepressants in managing relapse in depression.

According to Willem Kuyken, lead author of the study and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford, without ongoing treatment four out of five people who struggle with depression will relapse.

Maintenance doses of antidepressant medication can reduce the risk of relapse by two-thirds, but it’s not without its problems. The side effects can be intolerable for some, and others might (understandably) be averse to an indefinite dependence on medication.


The Study: What They Did

424 adults with diagnosed major depression participated in the two year study. Half were required to stay on their antidepressant medication for the duration of the study. The other half slowly come off their medication and participated in mindfulness practice. People in this group attended eight weekly 2 ¼ hour group sessions consisting of guided mindfulness practices, group discussion and other cognitive behavioural exercises. They were also required to practice daily at home.

What They Found

At the end of two years, mindfulness was shown to be as effective as medication in preventing relapse, with the rates of relapse being 44% for the mindfulness group and 47% for the medication group.


The benefits of mindfulness therapy over medication include its low cost and its appeal to those who are reluctant to depend indefinitely on medication as a way to stave off depression.

The slide into depression can be triggered by negative thoughts and feelings about the self, others and the world. Mindfulness therapy aims to change the way people think and feel, teaching the skills to recognise and respond to thoughts and feelings that could otherwise set in motion a depressive downward spiral.

Through mindfulness, people can learn to appreciate that just because they think something, that doesn’t mean the thought is fact. Rather than hanging on to a thought and letting it gain momentum and strength, mindfulness teaches how to let the thought come and then go.

For more information on mindfulness, see MINDFULNESS: THE WHAT, THE HOW AND THE DIFFERENCE 5 MINUTES A DAY WILL MAKE

[Image Credit: Unsplash]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Adolescence is all about the transition from childhood to adulthood. It can be a confusing time for everyone - not just for our teens but also for the adults who love them. 

Too often, the line between childhood and adulthood can be a blurry one. The expectations of adulthood can come charging at them, but without the freedoms, confidence, or capabilities that adulthood brings. They can feel with such depth and intensity, but without the adult wisdom or experience to make sense of those feelings. 

They’ll be okay, but it might feel wobbly for a while. In the meantime they will look to us for signs of safety and certainty. This doesn’t mean certainty that everything will always be okay - it won’t be - but certainty that they’ll get through, certainty that they are extraordinary, and needed, and that their will be a space and a place in the world that only they can fill.

We might not always feel that certainty. Some days we might ache, and wish we could make their world feel softer for a while. In those times, it will be less about what you do and more about who you are - being the one who can be with them without needing them to be different, the one who can handle any of their hurts or heartaches with gentle, certain hands, the one who can block out the world for a while by letting them rest in our care without needing them to be, or do, or give anything back in return.♥️
For our children, we start building the foundations for adolescence in their earliest years - the relationship we’ll have with them, who they are going to be, how they are going to be. One of the things we’ll want to build is their capacity to know their own minds and be brave enough to use it. This isn’t easy, even for adults, so the more practice we give them, the more they’ll be able to access their strong, brave, beautiful minds when they need to - when we aren’t there.

This means letting them have a say when we can, asking their opinions, and letting them disagree.

When kids and teens argue, they’re communicating. We need to listen, but the need won’t always be obvious. When littles argue because it’s spaghetti for dinner and ‘I hate spaghetti so much’ (even though last week and the 5 years before last week, spaghetti was their favourite), they might be expressing a need for sleep, power and influence, or independence. All are valid. When your teen argues because they want to do something you’ve said no to, the need might be to preserve their felt sense of inclusion with their tribe, or independence from you. Again, all valid. 

Of course, a valid need doesn’t mean it will always be met. Sometimes our needs might need to take priority to theirs, such as our need to keep them safe, or for them to learn that they can still be okay if everything doesn’t go their way, or that sometimes people will have conflicting needs that need to take priority. What’s important is letting them know we hear them and we get it.

It’s going to take time for kids to learn how to argue and express themselves respectfully. In the meantime, the words might be clumsy, loud, angry. This is when we need to hold on to ourselves, meet them where they are, let them know we hear them, and step into our leadership presence. We might give them what they need because it makes sense and because there isn’t enough reason not to. Sometimes, after giving them space to be heard we’ll need to stand our ground. Other times we might solve the problem collaboratively: This is what you want. This is what I want. Let’s talk about how we can we both get what we need.♥️
Anxiety will always tilt our focus to the risks, often at the expense of the very real rewards. It does this to keep us safe. We’re more likely to run into trouble if we miss the potential risks than if we miss the potential gains. 

This means that anxiety will swell just as much in reaction to a real life-threat, as it will to the things that might cause heartache (feels awful, but not life-threatening), but which will more likely come with great rewards. Wholehearted living means actively shifting our awareness to what we have to gain by taking a safe risk. 

Sometimes staying safe will be the exactly right thing to do, but sometimes we need to fight for that important or meaningful thing by hushing the noise of anxiety and moving bravely forward. 

When children or teens are on the edge of brave, but anxiety is pushing them back, ask, ‘But what would it be like if you could?’ ♥️

#parenting #parent #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #positiveparenting #heywarrior #heyawesome
Except I don’t do hungry me or tired me or intolerant me, as, you know … intolerably. Most of the time. Sometimes.
Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.

Pin It on Pinterest