Reduce Anxiety with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Reduce Anxiety with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Self-compassionate people tend to have lower levels of social anxiety—perhaps because self-compassion includes mindfulness, which soothes the stress associated with anxiety.” – Jill Suttie

 

It is a common human phenomenon that being in a social situation can be stressful and anxiety producing. Most people can deal with the anxiety and can become quite comfortable. But many do not cope well and the anxiety is overwhelming, causing the individual to withdraw. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is characterized by a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and feeling embarrassed or humiliated by their actions. This fear may be so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other activities and may negatively affect the person’s ability to form relationships.

 

Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders including Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and also Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have been shown to be effective in treating Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

 

A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment group therapy on social anxiety in female dormitory residents in Isfahan university of medical sciences.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6432841/), Toghiani and colleagues recruited female college students and randomly assigned them to receive 5-week, one 2-hour session per week, group Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or to a no-treatment control group. Before the intervention and 2 months later the students were measured for social anxiety, performance anxiety and psychological flexibility.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control group, the students who received ACT had significantly reduced social anxiety, social avoidance, performance anxiety, and performance avoidance. These results must be interpreted cautiously as there was not an active control condition leaving open the possibility of placebo effects and experimenter bias effects. Nevertheless, the study suggests that ACT is an effective therapy to reduce anxiety in female college students with lasting effects.

 

So, reduce anxiety with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

 

the art of mindfulness meditation practice. If you are suffering with the symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD), regular practice will eventually improve your self-concept and ability to handle negative emotions. You will also learn how to better respond to troubling thoughts and treat yourself with more compassion.” – Arlin Cuncic

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Toghiani, Z., Ghasemi, F., & Samouei, R. (2019). The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment group therapy on social anxiety in female dormitory residents in Isfahan university of medical sciences. Journal of education and health promotion, 8, 41. doi:10.4103/jehp.jehp_111_18

 

Abstract

AIM AND BACKGROUND:

Social anxiety can interfere with performance and academic success in students. One of the third-generation treatments for social anxiety is acceptance and commitment therapy. Therefore, the current study aims to determine the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment group therapy on social anxiety of female dormitory residents of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

METHODS:

This was a semiempirical study with pre- and posttest conducted on 71 female students living in the dormitory of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. The study was carried out in five training sessions using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale and second version of acceptance and commitment scale whose validity and reliability were confirmed. Data were analyzed using Student’s t-test.

RESULTS:

The findings showed that acceptance and commitment group therapy has affected the social anxiety in female dormitory residents of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUTIONS:

The findings of this study can be used by student deputies of universities, consultation centers, as well as counselors and psychologists to improve the conditions for students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6432841/

 

Improve Resilience in First-Responders with a Smartphone Mindfulness App

Improve Resilience in First-Responders with a Smartphone Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The mindfulness practices work at both a preventative and remedial level by assisting them to maintain higher levels of resilience to deal with their emergency responder roles and helping to reduce and cease distressing reactions after difficult personal and traumatic incidents.” – Mark Molony

 

First responders such as firefighters and police experience a great deal of stress and frequent traumatic events and as a part of their jobs. The first-responders need to be resilient in the face of these difficult circumstances to cope with the stress. It is possible that mindfulness training might help. Mindfulness has been shown to increase resilience and reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. So, it is reasonable to infer that mindfulness training may help to develop resilience in first-responders and be of benefit to their mental health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Resilience@Work Mindfulness Program: Results From a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial With First Responders.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6399574/), Joyce and colleagues examine the ability of mindfulness training delivered with a smartphone app to increase the levels of resilience in first-responders. They recruited Primary Rescue and Hazmat firefighters and randomly assigned their stations to either receive 6, 20-25 minute, sessions  of mindfulness training or to an Healthy Living control condition. The mindfulness training was based upon Acceptance and Compassion Therapy (ACT) and emphasized mindfulness, self-acceptance, and compassion. Both programs were delivered through a smartphone app. The first-responders were measured before and after training and 6 months later for mindfulness, resilience, cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance and psychological inflexibility, self-compassion, optimism, coping orientation, and life purpose.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition, participation in the mindfulness training resulted in a significant increase in adaptive resilience and mindfulness which continued to increase over the 6-month follow-up period. Significant differences in optimism, and the use of instrumental and emotional support were present at the end of training but were not sustained at follow-up. Interestingly, there were no significant differences in “bounce-back” resilience.

 

Adaptive resilience involves the ability to adapt to stressful life circumstances and events. It involves the “individual’s ability to tolerate experiences such as change, personal problems, illness, pressure, failure, and painful feelings.” On the other hand, “bounce-back” resilience involves the ability to recover from stressful events. Since mindfulness focuses the individual on the present moment, it would be expected that it would influence the experience and coping with stressful events as they’re occurring. This is the case with adaptive resilience. On the other hand, mindfulness moves attention away from past events and would thus not be expected to influence coping with past stressful events as is the case with “bounce-back” resilience. Hence, it makes sense that mindfulness training would affect adaptive resilience and not “bounce-back” resilience.

 

It is important for the well-being of first responders that they be able to cope with the, at times, intense stress and trauma involved in their jobs. Hence, mindfulness training may be very beneficial as the present results suggest. This may help to prevent illness, burnout, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, the fact that mindfulness was taught with a smartphone app is important as it makes the training convenient and adaptable to the individual’s schedule. It is also highly scalable allowing for inexpensive widespread availability of the training.

 

So, Improve Resilience in First-Responders with a Smartphone Mindfulness App.

 

“Because PTSD is an anxiety disorder, episodes of distress occur when a person begins to worry about the future based on previous painful, intense or stressful memories. Meditation can help bring that person’s attention back to the current moment, which reduces or eliminates anxiety.” – Erin Fletcher

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Joyce, S., Shand, F., Lal, T. J., Mott, B., Bryant, R. A., & Harvey, S. B. (2019). Resilience@Work Mindfulness Program: Results From a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial With First Responders. Journal of medical Internet research, 21(2), e12894. doi:10.2196/12894

 

Abstract

Background

A growing body of research suggests that resilience training can play a pivotal role in creating mentally healthy workplaces, particularly with regard to protecting the long-term well-being of workers. Emerging research describes positive outcomes from various types of resilience training programs (RTPs) among different occupational groups. One specific group of workers that may benefit from this form of proactive resilience training is first responders. Given the nature of their work, first responders are frequently exposed to stressful circumstances and potentially traumatic events, which may impact their overall resilience and well-being over time.

Objective

This study aimed to examine whether a mindfulness-based RTP (the Resilience@Work [RAW] Mindfulness Program) delivered via the internet can effectively enhance resilience among a group of high-risk workers.

Methods

We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) comprising 24 Primary Fire and Rescue and Hazmat stations within New South Wales. Overall, 12 stations were assigned to the 6-session RAW Mindfulness Program and 12 stations were assigned to the control condition. A total of 143 active full-time firefighters enrolled in the study. Questionnaires were administered at baseline, immediately post training, and at 6-month follow-up. Measurements examined change in both adaptive and bounce-back resilience as well as several secondary outcomes examining resilience resources and acceptance and mindfulness skills.

Results

Mixed-model repeated measures analysis found that the overall test of group-by-time interaction was significant (P=.008), with the intervention group increasing in adaptive resilience over time. However, no significant differences were found between the intervention group and the control group in terms of change in bounce-back resilience (P=.09). At 6-month follow-up, the group receiving the RAW intervention had an average increase in their resilience score of 1.3, equating to a moderate-to-large effect size compared with the control group of 0.73 (95% CI 0.38-1.06). Per-protocol analysis found that compared with the control group, the greatest improvements in adaptive resilience were observed among those who completed most of the RAW program, that is, 5 to 6 sessions (P=.002).

Conclusions

The results of this RCT suggest that mindfulness-based resilience training delivered in an internet format can create improvements in adaptive resilience and related resources among high-risk workers, such as first responders. Despite a number of limitations, the results of this study suggest that the RAW Mindfulness Program is an effective, scalable, and practical means of delivering online resilience training in high-risk workplace settings. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a mindfulness-based RTP delivered entirely via the internet has been tested in the workplace.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6399574/

 

Reduce Stress and Enhance Academic Buoyancy in Adolescents with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Reduce Stress and Enhance Academic Buoyancy in Adolescents with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In the last few years mindfulness has emerged as a way of treating children and adolescents with conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, depression and stress. And the benefits are proving to be tremendous.” – Julianne Garey

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But adolescence can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms.

 

Mindfulness training in adults has been shown in adolescents to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health. A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

The original form of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), however, required a certified trained therapist. This resulted in costs that many clients couldn’t afford. In addition, the participants had to be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that were not always compatible with busy schedules and at locations that were not always convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness-based treatments delivered over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of ACT for adolescents when delivered over the internet.

 

In today’s Research News article “Reducing Stress and Enhancing Academic Buoyancy among Adolescents Using a Brief Web-based Program Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6394525/ ), Puolakanaho and colleagues recruited adolescents in the 9th grade and randomly assigned them to receive a 5-week online program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or to a no-treatment control condition. They were measured before and after the program for academic skills, reading fluency, math skills, stress, school stress, and academic buoyancy. Academic buoyancy “refers to a student’s capacity to overcome everyday academic life setbacks and challenges successfully.”

 

They found that 76% of the participants completed the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) program. They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment controls that ACT produced a significant reduction in overall stress levels and a significant increase in academic buoyancy. These findings suggest that ACT can be taught online to adolescents and successfully promote their ability to withstand the stress of adolescence and to promote their ability to overcome the challenges of school.

 

So, reduce stress and enhance academic buoyancy in adolescents with online acceptance and commitment therapy.

 

mindfulness is uniquely able to help adolescents navigate this time of growing autonomy, more complicated life challenges and heightened reactivity to stressors in their lives.” – Karen Pace

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Puolakanaho, A., Lappalainen, R., Lappalainen, P., Muotka, J. S., Hirvonen, R., Eklund, K. M., Ahonen, T., … Kiuru, N. (2018). Reducing Stress and Enhancing Academic Buoyancy among Adolescents Using a Brief Web-based Program Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of youth and adolescence, 48(2), 287-305.

 

Abstract

Acceptance and commitment therapy programs have rarely been used as preventive tools for alleviating stress and enhancing coping skills among adolescents. This randomized controlled trial examined the efficacy of a novel Finnish web- and mobile-delivered five-week intervention program called Youth COMPASS among a general sample of ninth-grade adolescents (n= 249, 49% females). The intervention group showed a small but significant decrease in overall stress (between-group Cohen’s d = 0.22) and an increase in academic buoyancy (d= 0.27). Academic skills did not influence the intervention gains, but the intervention gains were largest among high-stressed participants. The results suggest that the acceptance and commitment based Youth COMPASS program may be well suited for promoting adolescents’ well-being in the school context.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6394525/

 

Relieve Anxiety Disorders with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Relieve Anxiety Disorders with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The essential components of ACT include letting go of the struggle to control unwanted thoughts and feelings, being mindfully aware of the present moment, and committing to a course of action that is consistent with what you value most in life. . . Acceptance of your anxious thoughts and feelings allows you to focus more clearly on the present and to take the steps that move you closer to the life you truly want to live.” – AnxietyHappens

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and has also been shown to relieve anxietyACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

The original form of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), however, required a certified trained therapist. This resulted in costs that many clients couldn’t afford. In addition, the participants had to be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that were not always compatible with busy schedules and at locations that were not always convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness-based treatments delivered over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of ACT for anxiety disorder when delivered over the internet.

 

 

In today’s Research News article “Internet-Delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Treatment: Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371070/ ), Kelson and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) delivered online for the treatment of Anxiety Disorders. They discovered 20 published studies.

 

They found that on average 81% of participants completed the online ACT program. They also found that the ACT program produced small to moderate significant reduction in anxiety. These include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and illness anxiety disorder. Hence, the published research suggests that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) delivered online is effective for the treatment of Anxiety Disorders. This adds to the list of mindfulness-based therapies that can be successfully delivered online. This is important as online presentation is inexpensive, convenient, and available to a very large population of anxiety disorder sufferers.

 

So, relieve anxiety disorders with online acceptance and commitment therapy

 

Research has shown that ACT can produce symptom improvement in people with GAD, and it may also be a particularly good fit for older adults.” – Deborah Glasofer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kelson, J., Rollin, A., Ridout, B., & Campbell, A. (2019). Internet-Delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Treatment: Systematic Review. Journal of medical Internet research, 21(1), e12530. doi:10.2196/12530

 

Abstract

Background

Anxiety conditions are debilitating and prevalent throughout the world. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an effective, acceptance-based behavioral therapy for anxiety. However, there are treatment barriers (eg, financial, geographical, and attitudinal), which prevent people from accessing it. To overcome these barriers, internet-delivered ACT (iACT) interventions have been developed in recent years. These interventions use websites to deliver ACT information and skill training exercises on the Web, either as pure self-help or with therapist guidance.

Objective

This systematic review aimed to examine the therapeutic impact of iACT on all anxiety conditions.

Methods

The EMBASE, MEDLINE, ProQuest Central, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched up to September 2018. The titles and abstracts of remaining records after deduplication were screened by 2 authors with a total of 36 full-text articles being retained for closer inspection next to eligibility criteria. Empirical studies of all designs, population types, and comparator groups were included if they appraised the impact of iACT treatment on any standardized measure of anxiety. Included studies were appraised on methodological quality and had their data extracted into a standardized coding sheet. Findings were then tabulated, and a narrative synthesis was performed because of the heterogeneity found between studies.

Results

A total of 20 studies met inclusion criteria. There were 11 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 9 uncontrolled pilot studies. Participants across all studies were adults. The anxiety conditions treated were as follows: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), illness anxiety disorder (IAD), and general anxiety symptoms, with or without comorbid physical and mental health problems. A total of 18 studies reported significant anxiety reduction after iACT treatment. This was observed in studies that delivered iACT with (n=13) or without (n=5) therapist guidance. The average attrition rate across all included studies during the active iACT treatment phase was 19.19%. In the 13 studies that assessed treatment satisfaction, participants on average rated their iACT experience with above average to high treatment satisfaction.

Conclusions

These findings indicate that iACT can be an efficacious and acceptable treatment for adults with GAD and general anxiety symptoms. More RCT studies are needed to corroborate these early iACT findings using empirical treatments in active control groups (eg, internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy). This would potentially validate the promising results found for SAD and IAD as well as address the full spectrum of anxiety disorders.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371070/

 

Improve the Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with Mindfulness

Improve the Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“most OCD sufferers I know who practice mindfulness find it very helpful in fighting their disorder. To be able to focus on what is really happening in any given moment, as opposed to dwelling on the past or anticipating the future, takes away the power of OCD.” – Janet Singer

 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sufferer have repetitive anxiety producing intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that result in repetitive behaviors to reduce the anxiety (compulsions). In a typical example of OCD, the individual is concerned about germs and is unable to control the anxiety that these thoughts produce. Their solution is to engage in ritualized behaviors, such as repetitive cleaning or hand washing that for a short time relieves the anxiety. The obsessions and compulsions can become so frequent that they become a dominant theme in their lives. Hence OCD drastically reduces the quality of life and happiness of the sufferer and those around them. About 2% of the population, 3.3 million people in the U.S., are affected at some time in their life. Fortunately, OCD can be treated and Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in treating OCD.

 

In today’s Research News article “New-wave behavioral therapies in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Moving toward integrated behavioral therapies.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343420/ ), Manjula and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on new treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). They included in their review studies involving two mindfulness treatment techniques; Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 

MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy That is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

They find that the literature reports that both MBCT and ACT are successful in treating adults and children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms and produces improvements in anxiety, depression, experiential avoidance, believability, the need to respond to obsessions, obsessions, and compulsions. These benefits were found to be sustained 6 months later. But the authors caution that the studies are often performed with small numbers of participants and often have methodological problems. They conclude that the present research is promising but larger better controlled trials need to be performed especially with comparisons to other therapies for OCD that do not include mindfulness training.

 

So, improve the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness is really for anyone who wants to stop feeling like what is going on inside their mind is a burden.  It’s hard to imagine anyone with OCD who would wish to continue feeling that way.” – John Hershfield

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Manjula, M., & Sudhir, P. M. (2019). New-wave behavioral therapies in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Moving toward integrated behavioral therapies. Indian journal of psychiatry, 61(Suppl 1), S104-S113.

 

Abstract

New-wave behavioral therapies in obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCDs) comprise of third-wave therapies and newer cognitive therapies (CTs). This review covers outcome studies published in English until December 2017. A total of forty articles on mindfulness-based CT, metacognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and danger ideation reduction therapy in the form of single-case studies, case series, open-label trials, two-group comparison studies, and randomized controlled studies were included. Results show that studies on these therapies are limited in number. Methodological limitations including lack of active control groups, randomized controlled trials, small sample sizes, and short follow-up periods were also noted. However, the available literature demonstrates the feasibility and utility of these therapies in addressing the issues unresolved by exposure and response prevention (ERP) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). These therapies were often combined with traditional ERP and CBT based on the profile and response of the client; hence, it is unclear whether they can be used as standalone therapies in the larger segment of the OCD population. Supplementary use of these strategies alongside established therapies could provide better utilization of resources. In view of the need for such integration, further research is warranted. The use of sound methodologies and establishing the mechanism of action of these therapies would assist in choosing the techniques for integration.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343420/

 

Reduce Anxiety and Depression with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Depression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Being unwilling to experience negative thoughts, feelings, or sensations is often the first link in a mental chain that can lead to automatic, habitual, and critical patterns of mind becoming re-established. By accepting unpleasant experiences, we can shift our attention to opening up to them. Thus, “I should be strong enough” shifts to “Ah, fear is here,” or “Judgment is present.”—Zindel Segal,

 

Meditation training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. Meditation practice has been found to improve the regulation of emotions and reduce difficult emotional states such as anxiety and depression.

 

A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Indeed, Mindfulness practices have been shown to be quite effective in relieving anxiety. Anxiety often co-occurs with depression and mindfulness training is also effective for treating depression. Anxiety disorders and depression have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Since mindfulness- based treatments are relatively new, it makes sense to step back and summarize what is known regarding the effectiveness of mindfulness training for anxiety disorders and for depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Anxiety and Depression. The Psychiatric clinics of North America.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5679245/ ), Hofmann and Gomez review and summarize the published research literature on the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the relief of anxiety and depression.

 

They report that randomized controlled trials found that Mindfulness-Based interventions including the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy treatment programs were “moderately-to-largely effective at reducing anxiety and depression symptom severity among individuals with a broad range of medical and psychiatric conditions.” They also report that these programs are effective whether provided in person or over the internet. They are consistently more effective than health education, relaxation training, and supportive psychotherapy, but equivalently effective as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

 

Hence, accumulating controlled research has built a strong case for the use of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Since, these treatments are generally safe and effective with little if any side effects, they would appear to be preferable to pharmacological treatments.

 

So, reduce anxiety and depression with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness keeps us focused on the present, and helps us meet challenges head on while we appreciate all our senses absorb. On the contrary, focus on the future contributes to anxiety, while perseveration on the past feeds depression. Far too often when we look to the future, we ask ourselves, “What if,” and the answer we give ourselves is often a prediction of a negative result.” – Vincent Fitzgerald

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hofmann, S. G., & Gómez, A. F. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Anxiety and Depression. The Psychiatric clinics of North America, 40(4), 739-749.

 

Key Points

  • Research on mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for anxiety and depression has increased exponentially in the past decade. The most common include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
  • MBIs have demonstrated efficacy in reducing anxiety and depression symptom severity in a broad range of treatment-seeking individuals.
  • MBIs consistently outperform non-evidence-based treatments and active control conditions, such as health education, relaxation training, and supportive psychotherapy.
  • MBIs also perform comparably to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The treatment principles of MBIs for anxiety and depression are compatible with those of standard CBT.

Synopsis

This article reviews the ways in which cognitive and behavioral treatments for depression and anxiety have been advanced by the application of mindfulness practices. Research on mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) has increased exponentially in the past decade. The most common include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBIs have demonstrated efficacy in reducing anxiety and depression symptom severity in a broad range of treatment-seeking individuals. MBIs consistently outperform non-evidence-based treatments and active control conditions, such as health education, relaxation training, and supportive psychotherapy. MBIs also perform comparably to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The treatment principles of MBIs for anxiety and depression are compatible with those of standard CBT.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5679245/

 

Improve Health Anxiety with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Improve Health Anxiety with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Most of us care about our health but for up to 5% of people, worrying about health has become a significant problem in itself. Severe health anxiety, or hypochondriasis, is said to exist when someone holds a strong fear of having a serious disease, despite all medical assurances to the contrary.” – Fabio Fuchelli

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Health anxiety is a fear of a serious illness can interfere with their daily life. It often leads to seeking unnecessary testing and to spend days consumed by worry. Health anxiety is a relatively common condition, affecting 4% to 5% of both men and women equally.

 

Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and has also been shown to relieve anxietyACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. Additionally, ACT helps people strengthen aspects of cognition such as in committing to valued living. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), however, requires a certified trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness-based treatments delivered over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these internet applications in inducing mindfulness and improving psychological health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Development and Feasibility Testing of Internet-Delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Severe Health Anxiety: Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938695/ ), Hoffman and colleagues examine the acceptability and effectiveness of an internet-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) module applied to the treatment of Health Anxiety Disorder. They recruited participants who expressed symptoms of Health Anxiety Disorder and delivered 7 once-a-week online modules of ACT including 10-15 pages of textual instructions, videos, and home exercises. The participants were measured before and after treatment and 3 months later for health anxiety, depression, anxiety, health related quality of life, life satisfaction, and psychological flexibility.

 

They found that 80% of the participants completed the program. The participants found the internet format acceptable and some commented that it produced less anxiety working on this at home instead of a hospital or clinic. They found that after treatment there were significant decreases in health anxiety, depression, and anxiety and significant increases in life satisfaction and psychological flexibility. These effects were maintained at the 3-month follow-up. Hence the internet-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was acceptable to patients and produced lasting benefits in reducing health anxiety and improving psychological health.

 

This study did not have a comparable control condition and as such has to be seen as a pilot feasibility study. A randomized clinical trial is needed to verify the results. But the present findings are encouraging and suggest that a large controlled study is warranted. The development of an effective online version of ACT would be particularly significant as it would markedly open up accessibility of this therapy to a much wider patient population, reduce costs, and improve outcomes.

 

So, improve health anxiety with online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

 

“mindfulness allows us to interrupt automatic, reflexive fight, flight, or freeze reactions—reactions that can lead to anxiety, fear, foreboding, and worry.” – Bob Stahl

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Hoffmann, D., Rask, C. U., Hedman-Lagerlöf, E., Ljótsson, B., & Frostholm, L. (2018). Development and Feasibility Testing of Internet-Delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Severe Health Anxiety: Pilot Study. JMIR mental health, 5(2), e28. doi:10.2196/mental.9198

 

Abstract

Background

Severe health anxiety (hypochondriasis), or illness anxiety disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, is characterized by preoccupation with fear of suffering from a serious illness in spite of medical reassurance. It is a debilitating, prevalent disorder associated with increased health care utilization. Still, there is a lack of easily accessible specialized treatment for severe health anxiety.

Objective

The aims of this paper were to (1) describe the development and setup of a new internet-delivered acceptance and commitment therapy (iACT) program for patients with severe health anxiety using self-referral and a video-based assessment; and (2) examine the feasibility and potential clinical efficacy of iACT for severe health anxiety.

Methods

Self-referred patients (N=15) with severe health anxiety were diagnostically assessed by a video-based interview. They received 7 sessions of clinician-supported iACT comprising self-help texts, video clips, audio files, and worksheets over 12 weeks. Self-report questionnaires were obtained at baseline, post-treatment, and at 3-month follow-up. The primary outcome was Whiteley-7 Index (WI-7) measuring health anxiety severity. Depressive symptoms, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), life satisfaction, and psychological flexibility were also assessed. A within-group design was employed. Means, standard deviations, and effect sizes using the standardized response mean (SRM) were estimated. Post-treatment interviews were conducted to evaluate the patient experience of the usability and acceptability of the treatment setup and program.

Results

The self-referral and video-based assessments were well received. Most patients (12/15, 80%) completed the treatment, and only 1 (1/15, 7%) dropped out. Post-treatment (14/15, 93%) and 3-month follow-up (12/15, 80%) data were available for almost all patients. Paired t tests showed significant improvements on all outcome measures both at post-treatment and 3-month follow-up, except on one physical component subscale of HRQoL. Health anxiety symptoms decreased with 33.9 points at 3-month follow-up (95% CI 13.6-54.3, t11= 3.66, P=.004) with a large within-group effect size of 1.06 as measured by the SRM.

Conclusions

Treatment adherence and potential efficacy suggest that iACT may be a feasible treatment for health anxiety. The uncontrolled design and small sample size of the study limited the robustness of the findings. Therefore, the findings should be replicated in a randomized controlled trial. Potentially, iACT may increase availability and accessibility of specialized treatment for health anxiety.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938695/

 

Improve Athletic Performance with Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment Therapy

Improve Athletic Performance with Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The crowd gets quiet, and the moment starts to become the moment for me . . . that’s part of that Zen Buddhism stuff. Once you get into the moment, you know when you are there. Things start to move slowly, you start to see the court very well. You start reading what the defense is trying to do.” – Michael Jordan

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of Sports Psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. It would seem that ACT would be an excellent practice to improve athletic performance

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based approach on athletic performance and sports competition anxiety: a randomized clinical trial. Electronic Physician.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6033134/ ), Dehghani and colleagues examine the ability of a mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based program to improve the performance of women basketball players. They recruited college female basketball players between the ages of 18 to 30 years and randomly assigned them to receive either 8, 1.5-hour sessions of a mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based program or a waitlist control condition. The women were measured before and after treatment for self-evaluated sports performance, acceptance or avoidance of internal experiences, and sports competition anxiety.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the control group the women who received the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based program had significantly higher scores for sports performance (57% higher), and lower scores for experiential avoidance and sports anxiety (29% and 47% lower respectively). Hence the treated participants were markedly improved in the psychological readiness to compete and their sports performance.

 

It should be noted that the women in the control condition did not receive any treatment. In addition, there were no objective measures of athletic performance. Future research should compare the effectiveness of the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based program to another active intervention, perhaps yoga practice or cognitive behavioral therapy. This would better control for potential research contamination. It should also provide objective measures of performance in athletic competition.

 

Mindfulness practices are well documented to lower anxiety levels and physiological and psychological responses to stress. In addition, learning to accept experiences and not attempt to avoid them would better prepare an athlete to consciously confront the sports situations that they are engaged in. Both of these components of the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based program then would be expected to improve an athletes mental and physical performance.

 

So, improve athletic performance with mindfulness-acceptance-commitment therapy.

 

“I approached it with mindfulness. As much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we need to build our mental strength up… so we can focus… so we can be in concert with one another.” – Phil Jackson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dehghani, M., Saf, A. D., Vosoughi, A., Tebbenouri, G., & Zarnagh, H. G. (2018). Effectiveness of the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based approach on athletic performance and sports competition anxiety: a randomized clinical trial. Electronic Physician, 10(5), 6749–6755. http://doi.org/10.19082/6749

 

Abstract

Background

Improving sports performance and reducing anxiety is one of the most important goals of athletes. Recurrence of symptoms and treatment cessation are common problems with common interventions. Approaches based on mindfulness-acceptance-commitment (MAC) can be a response to these limitations

Objective

The main purpose of the present study was to determine effectiveness of the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based approach to athletic performance enhancement and sports competition anxiety in students who have had athletic experience for 3 to 5 years.

Methods

This randomized clinical trial was conducted at the Faculty of Educational Sciences of Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran, from May 1, 2017 to September 15, 2017. A total of 31 students were randomly assigned to experimental (n=15) and control groups (n=16). The experimental group received the protocol Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) for 8 sessions. Subjects completed the Charbonneau Sports Performance Questionnaire, Action and Acceptance Questionnaire (AAQ) and Sports Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) Questionnaire. Data analysis was conducted by using multivariate covariance analysis (MANCOVA) by SPSS-22.

Results

The results of the study indicated that the MAC approach increases significantly the performance of basketball playing athletes (p<0.05). Furthermore, the MAC approach decreases significantly experiential avoidance and sports anxiety in athletes (p<0.05). The size of the difference between the groups is moderate (Eta squared).

Conclusions

This study revealed that the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment-based approach is an effective intervention to increasing athletic performance and reducing experiential avoidance and sports anxiety in athletes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6033134/

Improve Eating Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Eating Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We pay attention to the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food. We pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full?” – Jan Chozen Bays

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake by affecting the individual’s response to non-homeostatic cues for eating. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity. Hence, mindful eating may counter non-homeostatic eating.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is based upon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. Additionally, ACT helps people strengthen aspects of cognition such as in committing to valued living. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effects of acceptance and commitment therapy on eating behavior and diet delivered through face-to-face contact and a mobile app: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828146/ ), Järvelä-Reijonen and colleagues examine the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on facilitating mindful eating and as a result improving eating behavior and diet. They recruited overweight and obese adults (aged 25-60 years) and randomly assigned them to receive ACT either face-to-face in a group setting or on line or to a no-treatment control. ACT was delivered for 90 minutes, once a week over 8 weeks.

 

The participants were measured before and 2 weeks and 28 weeks after the intervention for perceived stress, intuitive eating, including unconditional permission to eat, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, and reliance on internal hunger/satiety cue. They were also measured for cognitive restraint of eating, uncontrolled eating, emotional eating, taste pleasure, using food as a reward, eating attitudes, food acceptance, internal regulation, contextual skills, and eating behaviors, including intrinsic motivation, integrated regulation, identified regulation, introjected regulation, external regulation, and amotivation. Finally, they were measured for food and nutrient intakes including alcohol.

 

They found that both the face-to-face and the on-line Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) training produced significant improvements in the reasons for eating from emotional or environmental triggers towards hunger and satiety cues, acceptance of a variety of foods, and perceptions of healthy eating. They also showed significant increases in eating for physical rather than emotional reasons while decreases in using food as a reward. In general, the face-to-face ACT training produced larger improvements than the on-line ACT training. But, both were effective. Even though there were many improvements in the psychological components surrounding eating produced by ACT training, there were no significant changes in actual dietary intake.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that ACT training, regardless of whether it occurs face-to-face or on-line, alters the psychology of eating toward more mindful eating and toward homeostatic eating. These are very healthy changes. The fact, however, that they were not reflected in actual changes in intake is disappointing. Perhaps if there was an active dietary reduction component, there might have been a change in intake. But, without this emphasis on intake reduction it is hard to see what the motivation might be for the participants to reduce the amounts of food ingested. It is also possible that given more time for the psychological changes to take hold, intake changes may have occurred. Finally, even though the participants were overweight and obese they were weight stable, neither increasing or decreasing intake. They were eating an appropriate amount for their metabolic needs, neither overeating nor undereating. So, changing then psychology of eating may not affect their intake as it is appropriate for the circumstances.

 

So, improve eating behavior with mindfulness.

 

Mindless eating happens when you are distracted by something else so that all of your attention is not on what you are eating or how you are eating.  When distracted, we are far more likely to shift into autopilot and overeat and this is one very common reason for weight gain.” – J. Marlin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Järvelä-Reijonen, E., Karhunen, L., Sairanen, E., Muotka, J., Lindroos, S., Laitinen, J., … Kolehmainen, M. (2018). The effects of acceptance and commitment therapy on eating behavior and diet delivered through face-to-face contact and a mobile app: a randomized controlled trial. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 15, 22. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-018-0654-8

 

Abstract

Background

Internal motivation and good psychological capabilities are important factors in successful eating-related behavior change. Thus, we investigated whether general acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) affects reported eating behavior and diet quality and whether baseline perceived stress moderates the intervention effects.

Methods

Secondary analysis of unblinded randomized controlled trial in three Finnish cities. Working-aged adults with psychological distress and overweight or obesity in three parallel groups: (1) ACT-based Face-to-face (n = 70; six group sessions led by a psychologist), (2) ACT-based Mobile (n = 78; one group session and mobile app), and (3) Control (n = 71; only the measurements). At baseline, the participants’ (n = 219, 85% females) mean body mass index was 31.3 kg/m2 (SD = 2.9), and mean age was 49.5 years (SD = 7.4). The measurements conducted before the 8-week intervention period (baseline), 10 weeks after the baseline (post-intervention), and 36 weeks after the baseline (follow-up) included clinical measurements, questionnaires of eating behavior (IES-1, TFEQ-R18, HTAS, ecSI 2.0, REBS), diet quality (IDQ), alcohol consumption (AUDIT-C), perceived stress (PSS), and 48-h dietary recall. Hierarchical linear modeling (Wald test) was used to analyze the differences in changes between groups.

Results

Group x time interactions showed that the subcomponent of intuitive eating (IES-1), i.e., Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, increased in both ACT-based groups (p = .019); the subcomponent of TFEQ-R18, i.e., Uncontrolled eating, decreased in the Face-to-face group (p = .020); the subcomponent of health and taste attitudes (HTAS), i.e., Using food as a reward, decreased in the Mobile group (p = .048); and both subcomponent of eating competence (ecSI 2.0), i.e., Food acceptance (p = .048), and two subcomponents of regulation of eating behavior (REBS), i.e., Integrated and Identified regulation (p = .003, p = .023, respectively), increased in the Face-to-face group. Baseline perceived stress did not moderate effects on these particular features of eating behavior from baseline to follow-up. No statistically significant effects were found for dietary measures.

Conclusions

ACT-based interventions, delivered in group sessions or by mobile app, showed beneficial effects on reported eating behavior. Beneficial effects on eating behavior were, however, not accompanied by parallel changes in diet, which suggests that ACT-based interventions should include nutritional counseling if changes in diet are targeted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828146/

 

Reduce Anxiety and Depression with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Depression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“If you have unproductive worries, you can train yourself to experience those thoughts completely differently. “You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self,’” – Elizabeth Hoge.

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. This may indicate that treating the cognitive processes that underlie the anxiety may be an effective treatment. Indeed, Mindfulness practices have been shown to be quite effective in relieving anxiety. Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Depression can be difficult to treat. Fortunately, Mindfulness training is also effective for treating depression.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is based upon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and has also been shown to relieve anxiety and to be effective for depression. ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. Additionally, ACT helps people strengthen aspects of cognition such as in committing to valued living. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Anxiety and Depression of Razi Psychiatric Center Staff.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839459/ ), Heydari and colleagues recruited adult volunteers with moderate symptoms of burnout and randomly assigned them to either receiving a program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or to a no-treatment control condition. The ACT program was delivered over 8 weeks in once a week, 90-minute sessions. The participants were measured before and after training and 2 months later for anxiety and depression.

 

They found that after treatment and 2 months later the group that received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had large and significant decreases in both anxiety (35% reduction) and depression (20% reduction) while there were no significant changes in the no-treatment control participants. It is interesting that the participants were suffering from moderate burnout in their jobs. This indicates that ACT may be effective in treating career burnout.

 

It is important to note that these effects were still present 2 months after the completion of the therapy program. They thus appear to have lasting beneficial effects. It should be noted that since the there was no treatment in the control condition that a placebo effect may still be present and may potentially account for at least some of the improvements. Nevertheless the results are in line with previous studies that demonstrate that mindfulness training is effective in relieving anxiety and depression.

 

So, Reduce Anxiety and Depression with Mindfulness

 

Anxiety softens when we can create a space between ourselves and what we’re experiencing. . .

When you become aware of the present moment, you gain access to resources you may not have had before. You may not be able to change a situation, but you can mindfully change your response to it.” – Mindful

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Heydari, M., Masafi, S., Jafari, M., Saadat, S. H., & Shahyad, S. (2018). Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Anxiety and Depression of Razi Psychiatric Center Staff. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 6(2), 410–415. http://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2018.064

 

Abstract

AIM:

Considering the key role of human resources as the main operator of organisations, the present research aimed to determine the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for anxiety and depression of Razi Psychiatric Center staff.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

This research follows a quasi-experimental type with pre-test, post-test plans, and control group. Accordingly, 30 people were selected through volunteered sampling among Razi Psychiatric Center staff. Then, they were randomly placed into two groups of 15 (experimental and control) and evaluated using research tools. Research tools consisted of Beck Anxiety and Depression Inventories whose reliability and validity have been confirmed in several studies. Research data were analysed using the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).

Results:

The statistical analysis confirmed the difference in the components of anxiety and depression in the experimental group, which had received acceptance and commitment therapy compared to the group that had not received any therapy in this regard (control group) (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION:

Acceptance and commitment therapy reduces anxiety and depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839459/