Meditation as good as drugs for beating depression

Meditating may be as effective as antidepressantsWhen it comes to treating depression, meditation and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be as effective as taking antidepressants, say experts from Canada.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy involves meditation but also learning how to recognise emotional triggers, that is the things in life that make you happy or sad. And being in better control over your emotions may help prevent a relapse of depression, say the researchers.

Writing in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, the researchers note that only 40% of people being treated for depression stick to their medication. So having an alternative therapy that doesn't involve taking drugs could be very useful, especially if it's effective at keeping depression at bay.

The study involved 84 people who had been taking antidepressants. The people in the meditation group learned how to monitor their thoughts and to change their automatic reactions to the things that make them feel depressed. After 18 months, 38% of the patients who were meditating suffered another bout of depression, compared with 46% of those taking antidepressants and 60% who were taking a placebo (dummy pill).

Meditation and mindfulness may be an effective alternative to antidepressants like Prozac, say the researchers, especially for people who are wary of constantly taking medication as well as those who aren't too keen on the drugs' side effects.

If meditation and being mindful can help prevent depression in people who have already been diagnosed with the condition, just think what they could do for the rest of us who haven't.

Have you tried them? How did they work for you?

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