The study focused on individuals who had one major depressive episode and were experiencing residual depressive symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, low mood, and insomnia.
The research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that MBCT significantly reduced depressive symptoms by 30-35%.
MBCT is a therapy involving eight weekly group sessions. It has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)—but only as a treatment for preventing relapse in patients who have suffered three or more past episodes of depression.
This new research shows that MBCT can be effective in patients who have suffered only one past episode. (Out of the 170 participants in the study, 71 had fewer than three episodes of depression. 59 had three or more episodes.)
Dr Nicole Geshwind, first author and study coordinator, now at the University of Leuven in Belgium, said in a press release that MBCT should not be restricted to patients with three past episodes of depression. "At the very least, the current practice of restricting MBCT to patients with three or more episodes of depression needs urgen re-examination."
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