Depression tends to recur and millions of people have discovered. And the greater number of episodes you have had, the greater your risk for another episode.
Until relatively recently, the only preventative measure was the use of medication as a prophylactic (in other words staying on medication in order to attempt to prevent further episodes).
An approach has now been developed which appears to be giving good results in preventing depression by developing and using various skills. It is known as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). It was developed by Segal, Williams and Teasdale. Training is normally done in groups. Participants are taught various skills using mindfulness meditation. Participants learn to be more fully aware and present in life and facing what is there, even when it is unpleasant. Being aware of unpleasant feelings, thoughts and experiences as they arise, helps you to counter them before they become more intense or progress to more persistent depressions.
The training demands considerable commitment. You will have to be prepared to attend eight weekly meetings of two hours. You also have to commit to an hour’s practice six out of seven days. This sounds reasonable, but it is really difficult to fit into a busy schedule.
This effect of this programme has been researched and it is giving good results. In a randomised clinical trial it was found that people who had had three or more episodes of depression had a relapse rate of 66% over a period of 60 weeks when given treatment as usual. Participants who were referred for MBCT had a relapse rate of 37%. In other words, relapse rates were almost halved.
If you are interested in MBCT groups, please contact us and we will send you the preliminary information.