Depression is currently one of the biggest reasons for disability throughout the world. According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), in American alone, there are roughly 15 million people suffering from what is known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Depression can be debilitating, making it difficult to focus on every day tasks or enjoy even the simplest things in life.
Depression can leave one feeling hopeless, lonely, tired and lost. For some, suicide may seem like the only way out. Others can put on a smile for the outside world, but deep inside they struggle to feel happy and content with their lives. Because of the toll depression is taking on society, researchers are constantly seeking innovative treatments. One new treatment offering hope is mindfulness cognitive therapy.
Mindfulness cognitive therapy (MBCT) represents a new wave of depression treatment. It is the combination of conventional cognitive therapy, which is based on the idea that thoughts are the seeds that precede action and the process of meditating or examining the rationale behind onersquo;s thought process without passing judgment. Cognitive therapy has customarily focused on the outcome that changed thoughts can have on onersquo;s actions. Mindfulness, though, seeks to understand the entire thought process in order to replace negativity with positive thinking.
The belief is that there are emotional triggers that may lead to depression or cause one to relapse back into it. And according to Zindel V. Segal, researcher at Canadarsquo;s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, many times we are unaware that emotional triggers even exist. Mindfulness cognitive therapy can help one identify and maintain control over these emotional triggers via meditation.
Traditionally, depression has been treated through a host of anti-depressant medications including the likes of Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and Lexapro. Most anti-depressant medications work by manipulating levels of serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. While these medications can be highly effective, many also can cause harsh side effects such as nausea, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and increased suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Sengal says that mindfulness therapy can be used as a substitute for prescription drugs or as a partner alongside them. However, he warns that the decision to discontinue use of anti-depressants should not be made alone but with a doctorrsquo;s help. Mindfulness therapy seems to work best for those suffering from recurring depression that is resistant to medication and traditional care. Studies suggest that, for this group, mindfulness therapy can be especially helpful and can provide an added benefit to normal treatment.