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Depression

A trial, published in The Lancet, a medical journal, looked at the effectiveness of continuing with drugs or taking an 8 week mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) course. The trial involved a group of 424 adults from GP practices in the south-west of England, who were willing to try either the pills or the therapy. Half were randomly allotted to each. Those assigned to mindfulness had eight group sessions of more than two hours plus daily home practice and the option of four follow-up sessions over a year. The course involved mindfulness training, group discussion and cognitive behaviour exercises. The patients gradually came off their medication. Those assigned to the other group stayed on the tablets for two years.

The relapse rates in the two groups were similar, with 44% in the mindfulness group and 47% for those on the drugs showing that MBCT was as effective at preventing relapse as continuing on drugs.

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