The results of a large randomized study found that compared with placebo, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was as effective as maintenance antidepressant medication in unstable remitters. Some patients simply don’t want antidepressants and for a significant minority they can be dangerous, so MBCT may be a powerful alternative.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been shown, after just an 8 week course, to change many aspects in the limbic (emotion-based) part of the brain compared with matched controls. These changes, which were noted in brain imaging, might point to enhanced emotion regulation, “thus leading to long-term changes in psychological health and well-being.”
Finally, something very interesting to many in our psychiatry department who are interested in genomics, there is “recent research showing that a range of mind-body practices had shared gene-expression profile changes. In a recent study, changes in pathways involved in immune regulation and mitochondrial energy metabolism were observed after an eight-week mind-body intervention that involved the elicitation of the relaxation response, a physiological state opposite of the fight-or-flight response. These findings raise the empowering notion that through behavior changes, individuals can impact their own genetic expression.”
If you want to learn more about the Mindfulness program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, go to link Mindfulness Programs.