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Quick Boost

Dec
16
2012
Using Meditation to Ease Depression
By Vince Caimano
Category  Use of Medications

Our poll last week asked about your use of meditation to help with depression. It was interesting to learn that the two most frequent responses were that you do some meditation or that you tried it and it didn't work. If we look at the research on the use of meditation for depression treatment we may understand the reason that we see these results.

There is a particular type of meditation, called mindfulness that has been shown to reduce the relapse rate of depression by 50%. This is true for people who have had three or more bouts of depression. That makes this result astoundingly good because the more experience you have with depression the more likely it is that you will have a relapse - 70% to 80% within a year if you have had three or more bouts.

In my experience, the reason that there are these two large groups - those that do some meditation and those who tried and failed - is that it depends on the type of meditation they tried and their orientation to it.

Stress or anxiety co-occur with depression about two-thirds of the time. So having a low stress approach to any depression treatment is very important. If you try something new whether it is a new medication or lifestyle change, you might often be thinking "this has to work, this has to work soon, I'm so miserable -I hope this works, etc." So the new effort we are making cause us to ruminate in a way that increases our stress and might actually also increase our depression.

One of the reasons that mindfulness meditation works as well as it does is that we learn to meditate in very simple ways without any particular expectations. It is a low-key technique that is learned gradually, usually over the course of an eight-week program.

I have been helped by the practice of mindfulness and I have taught the program described in the book the Mindful Way through Depression several times. We will be offering the program here on Depression Recovery Groups soon. Please watch these pages to register. Our class size will be limited for this very popular and helpful program.
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