Don’t Let Meditation Get You Depressed

A catchy title yes. But more appropriate would be, “Let meditation get you un-depressed.”

For many sufferers of depression, the affliction is debilitating. And it seems to be getting worse (that is, reported cases). In 2007, 2.88% of the U.S. population received a diagnosis of depression. That’s a 2.37% increase from a decade before. The strange thing is that the percentage of people seeking psychotherapy to help with their symptoms was down.

According to this LA Times post from Melissa Healy which published these findings, the answer might lie in an increased use of meditation. According to Healy, citing the latest issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, mindfulness based cognitive therapy works about as well as antidepressants.

The mindfulness therapy study consisted of eight weekly group sessions of two hours, a full day retreat late in the study period, and optional one-hour meditation classes. Subjects learned how to reflect upon their feelings and thinking patterns with “non-judgmental awareness” and “self-compassion,” and to break the cycle of rumination and emotional paralysis that often afflicts the depressed. The 26 subjects who moved from antidepressants to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy did daily homework exercises and were urged to apply their new mindfulness skills to their everyday challenges.

Read more from Healy on the use of mindfulness based therapy and meditation to treat depression here.

Comments Closed