Treating Depression: Medication or Meditation?

A new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that depression patients in remission who underwent mindfulness therapy did as well as those who took an antidepressant, and better than those who took a placebo. 

Over an 18-month period, patients receiving the placebo relapsed at a rate of 70 percent. Patients who were receiving mindfulness therapy or antidepressants relapsed at a rate in the 30 percent range, meaning that those that are looking for an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for depression can look towards more than herbal remedies. For a great number of patients, depression isn’t a one-time thing—it’s a chronic condition that must be treated when it flares. (In 2007, almost 3 percent of the U.S. population received a diagnosis of depression.) And yet, Americans diagnosed with depression have a highly conflicted relationship with the notion of ongoing depression care. Though the majority of depressed patients are put on antidepressant medication (75 percent in 2007), more than half typically abandon their prescriptions as soon as their worst symptoms disappear, if not sooner.

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Archives of General Psychiatry 

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