By Sarah Knapton for The Telegraph
Meditation is as good as anti-depressants for tackling depression, a major study has shown offering a drug-free alternative
Researchers at Oxford University say that Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) stopped as many people from sliding back into depression as strong medication.
Mindfulness, which has grown in popularity in recent years, is a form of meditation which encourages people to become more aware of the present moment and their own place in the world, to avoid thoughts spiralling out of control.
The study followed 492 severely depressed adults over two years, half of whom received mindfulness training and the other half who stayed on anti-depressant drugs.
It found 44 per cent of people practicing mindfulness meditation slipped back into major depression compared with 47 per cent of people taking medication.
“Depression is a recurrent disorder. Without ongoing treatment, as many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point,” said Dr Willem Kuyken, lead author and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University.
“Whilst this study doesn’t show that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works any better than maintenance antidepressant medication in reducing the rate of relapse in depression, we believe these results suggest a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions. ”