In the past, we’ve discussed how mindfulness and meditation can have a positive effect on pain, anxiety and depression, three afflictions that are currently treated with medication, namely antidepressants. It’s great news that there is recent mounting evidence that mindfulness and meditation can help treat these afflictions.
Mindfulness and antidepressants — two sides to the coin
Although practitioners of meditation and mindfulness have believed in the benefits of their practice for millennia, the holistic approach to this form of treatment has been met with scrutiny. As with any form of medical treatment for serious problems and illnesses, the medical community, as well as the population at large, needs “proof” by way of medical support of any particular remedy. In a recent study published in renowned medical journal The Lancet, there is mounting evidence in the medical community that points to meditation and mindfulness being an alternative to antidepressants.
UK study links mindfulness and antidepressants
The study, conducted by University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, looked at 212 adults suffering from depression and taking antidepressants. The study also followed this group for up to two years, to monitor relapses. In this case a “relapse” is defined by a depressive episode after treatment. Out of this group of adults, 44% of the group that practiced mindfulness relapsed, as opposed to the slightly more 47% of those taking an antidepressant prescription. Although the numbers are too similar to deem a clear advantage to either treatment, it is a giant leap for meditation as an accepted treatment.
“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.” – Professor Kyuken, lead author of the study.