Improve Sleep and Reduce Insomnia with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep and Reduce Insomnia with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“If insomnia is at the root of your sleepless nights, it may be worth trying meditation. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.” – Sleep Foundation

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Insomnia is more than just an irritant. Sleep deprivation is associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 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. It would seem reasonable to expect that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) might improve sleep and relieve insomnia. A number of studies have been performed. So, it makes sense to examine what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of acceptance and commitment therapy on insomnia and sleep quality: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425538/ ) Salari and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on sleep and insomnia.

 

They identified 19 published studies with a total of 1577 participants. They report that the published research found that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) significantly improved sleep quality and reduced insomnia in healthy individuals and in patients with chronic insomnia. These benefits of ACT were still present up to a year after the completion of training.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a complex therapy and the studies do not identify which components or combination of components are necessary to produce the benefits. Nevertheless, the results clearly demonstrate that ACT is a safe and effective therapy for the improvement of sleep and the reduction in insomnia. This should have secondary effects of improving health and well-being

 

So, improve sleep and reduce insomnia with mindfulness.

 

The idea is to create a reflex to more easily bring forth a sense of relaxation. That way, it’s easier to evoke the relaxation response at night when you can’t sleep.” – Herbert Benson

 

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

 

Salari, N., Khazaie, H., Hosseinian-Far, A., Khaledi-Paveh, B., Ghasemi, H., Mohammadi, M., & Shohaimi, S. (2020). The effect of acceptance and commitment therapy on insomnia and sleep quality: A systematic review. BMC neurology, 20(1), 300. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-020-01883-1

 

Abstract

Background

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), as a type of behavioral therapy, attempts to respond to changes in people’s performance and their relationship to events. ACT can affect sleep quality by providing techniques to enhance the flexibility of patients’ thoughts, yet maintaining mindfullness. Therefore, for the first time, a systematic review on the effects of ACT on sleep quality has been conducted.

Methods

This systematic review was performed to determine the effect of ACT on insomnia and sleep quality. To collect articles, the PubMed, Web of Science (WOS), Cochrane library, Embase, Scopus, Science Direct, ProQuest, Mag Iran, Irandoc, and Google Scholar databases were searched, without a lower time-limit, and until April 2020.

Results

Related articles were derived from 9 research repositories, with no lower time-limit and until April 2020. After assessing 1409 collected studies, 278 repetitive studies were excluded. Moreover, following the primary and secondary evaluations of the remaining articles, 1112 other studies were removed, and finally a total of 19 intervention studies were included in the systematic review process. Within the remaining articles, a sample of 1577 people had been assessed for insomnia and sleep quality.

Conclusion

The results of this study indicate that ACT has a significant effect on primary and comorbid insomnia and sleep quality, and therefore, it can be used as an appropriate treatment method to control and improve insomnia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425538/

 

Improve Painful Diabetic Neuropathy with Mindfulness

Improve Painful Diabetic Neuropathy with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness specifically can also potentially improve quality of life for patients with neuropathy. . . Research indicates that in addition to improving pain, mindfulness also addresses the psychological consequences of chronic pain, including depression symptoms.” – Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy

 

Diabetes can lead to a very painful condition known as diabetic neuropathy. The high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can damage nerves and result in a burning pain and numbness, particularly from the legs and feet. It affects the majority of long-term diabetes patients. This is not only painful but is also disruptive to the normal life functions of these patients. There are no cures, but diabetic neuropathy can be prevented by blood glucose control in the diabetic patient with a rigorous program of measured diet and exercise. Treatment for diabetic neuropathy usually involves pain management with drugs.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to help with pain management and with quality of life in diabetes patients. and has been shown to improve the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. 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 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.

 

It is important, then, to study the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for reducing pain and improving quality of life in patients with diabetic neuropathy. In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Pain Acceptance and Pain Perception in Patients with Painful Diabetic Neuropathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376796/) Taheri and colleagues recruited patients diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, aged 35 to 65 years, and randomly assigned them to either receive 8 sessions of ACT or to a no-treatment control condition. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for sensory pain, psychological pain, and chronic pain acceptance.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the no-treatment control group the patients who received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significant decreases in pain and significant increases in pain acceptance. These benefits of ACT were still significant at the 3-month follow up. So ACT were appears to produce significant and lasting improvements in diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain and its acceptance.

 

The trial did not have an active control group. So, the design is not the strongest and may be open to confounding. In addition, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a complex therapy that includes mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), along with other therapeutic components. So, it cannot be determined which of these components or which combination of components were responsible for the effects. Previous research has shown that mindfulness training improves the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. So, it is reasonable to conclude that the mindfulness component of ACT is effective. Hence, the study suggests that ACT is a safe, effective, and lasting treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain.

 

So, improve painful diabetic neuropathy with mindfulness.

 

by activating and reinforcing some areas of the brain used in pain processing, meditation has the overall effect of helping to reduce pain intensity in patients. Other theories on how meditation affects pain, including that it decreases stress, which in turn decreases pain.” – Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy

 

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

 

Taheri, A. A., Foroughi, A. A., Mohammadian, Y., Ahmadi, S. M., Heshmati, K., Hezarkhani, L. A., & Parvizifard, A. A. (2020). The Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Pain Acceptance and Pain Perception in Patients with Painful Diabetic Neuropathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Diabetes therapy : research, treatment and education of diabetes and related disorders, 11(8), 1695–1708. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13300-020-00851-9

 

Abstract

Introduction

Neuropathic pain is a complex phenomenon in patients with diabetes. These patients have many problems, such as psychological problems, high-level pain perception, and pain acceptance. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy on pain acceptance and pain perception in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy.

Methods

This study was performed according to the clinical trial method. The sample size was 50 participants. In this study, participants were divided into interventional and control groups. According to the diagnosis of neurologists, all participants received conventional medications to manage neuropathic pain. The intervention group received acceptance and commitment therapy for eight sessions. The results in the three phases of pre-test, post-test, and follow-up were evaluated. After completing the study, to comply with ethical standards, the control group received psycho-education. The tools used were the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) and the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (CPAQ). Statistical analysis includes mean, standard deviation, and repeated-measures (ANOVA) conducted by SPSS software version 22.

Results

The results demonstrated that in the post-test and follow-up phases, acceptance and commitment therapy could improve pain acceptance and reduce pain perception in the intervention group compared to the control group (P < 0.01).

Conclusion

The results indicated that acceptance and commitment therapy could be used as a psychological intervention besides pharmacotherapy to improve pain acceptance and reduce pain perception in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy.

Key Summary Points

Why carry out this study?
Patients with painful diabetic neuropathy endure severe and excruciating pain that adversely affects their function. According to Melzack theory, one of the most important factors in pain perception is psychological factors.
Before this study, no clinical trial study had been performed to measure the effectiveness of psychological therapy in reducing the severity of pain perception in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy.
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) therapy on improving pain acceptance and subsequently reduction of pain perception.
What was learned from the study?
The results showed that compared to the control group, the interventional group had significant improvement in pain acceptance and also a major reduction in pain perception in the post-test phase. The same results were observed after a 3-month follow-up.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376796/

 

Mindfulness Improves Flexibility Which Improves Residual Symptoms of Depression

Mindfulness Improves Flexibility Which Improves Residual Symptoms of Depression

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Living resiliently represents a whole new way of being and doing. It isn’t just for the hard times — it’s for all times. Empowering us to live, love, and work adventurously in the face of change, it builds a well from which we can draw for the rest of our lives.” – Lynda Klau

 

Depression affects over 6% of the population. Depression can be difficult to treat. It is usually treated with antidepressant medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. Even after remission there are a number of symptoms that remain. These include lingering dysphoria, impaired psychosocial functioning, fatigue, and decreased ability to work. These residual symptoms can lead to relapse.

 

Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs failAcceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 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.

 

It is not known how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) might affect the residual symptoms in individuals in remission from depression. In today’s Research News article “Psychological Flexibility in Depression Relapse Prevention: Processes of Change and Positive Mental Health in Group-Based ACT for Residual Symptoms.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7119364/), Østergaard and colleagues recruited patients in remission from major depressive disorder and provided them with 8 weekly sessions of group based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). They were measured before and after ACT and 6 months and 1 year later for psychiatric symptoms, mental health depression, cognitive defusion, flexibility, values, engaged living and mindfulness.

 

They found that after treatment and for the year following there were significant reductions in depression and increases in positive mental health. Mediation analysis revealed that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) decreased depression and increased positive mental health directly and indirectly by increasing psychological flexibility. That is ACT not only directly decreased depression and increased positive mental health but also increased psychological flexibility which in turn decreased depression and increased positive mental health. They also showed that ACT had these effects by changing acceptance, cognitive defusion, values, and committed action, all of which increased psychological flexibility.

 

Psychological flexibility is the ability to make changes in behavior in order to produce positive effects. It’s the individual’s ability to avoid rumination and brooding over negative emotions that contribute to depression. In this way psychological flexibility contributes to maintaining positive mental health. The study shows that ACT directly reduces residual symptoms and also increases psychological flexibility which in turn reduces residual symptoms in patients in remission from major depressive disorder. It is important to note that these benefits produced by ACT were enduring lasting over the year of testing. Hence, treatment with ACT  should reduce the likelihood of future depressive episodes.

 

So, mindfulness improves flexibility which improves residual symptoms of depression.

 

Mindfulness is a shallow description of a much larger process that makes us resilient when bad things happen.” – Michael Unger

 

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

 

Østergaard, T., Lundgren, T., Zettle, R. D., Landrø, N. I., & Haaland, V. Ø. (2020). Psychological Flexibility in Depression Relapse Prevention: Processes of Change and Positive Mental Health in Group-Based ACT for Residual Symptoms. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 528. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00528

 

Abstract

Relapse rates following a depressive episode are high, with limited treatments available aimed at reducing such risk. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a cognitive-behavioral approach that has gained increased empirical support in treatment of depression, and thus represents an alternative in relapse prevention. Psychological flexibility (PF) plays an important role in mental health according to the model on which ACT is based. This study aimed to investigate the role of PF and its subprocesses in reducing residual symptoms of depression and in improving positive mental health following an 8-week group-based ACT treatment. Adult participants (75.7% female) with a history of depression, but currently exhibiting residual symptoms (N = 106) completed measures before and after intervention, and at 6 and 12-month follow-up. A growth curve model showed that positive mental health increased over 12-months. Multilevel mediation modeling revealed that PF significantly mediated these changes as well as the reduction of depressive symptoms, and that processes of acceptance, cognitive defusion, values and committed action, in turn, mediated increased PF.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7119364/

 

Relieve Generalized Anxiety and Depression with a 2-Session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Relieve Generalized Anxiety and Depression with a 2-Session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“ACT is about acceptance and it is about change at the same time. Applied to anxiety disorders, patients learn to end the struggle with their anxiety-related discomfort and take charge by engaging in actions that move them related to their chosen life aims.” – Mohsen Hasheminasab 

 

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.

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression.

 

There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety and depression. But, les than half the patients treated respond to the therapy and do not relapse. 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.

 

In prior research Ruiz and associates have demonstrated that a 3 session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is effective Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and for depression. In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of a two-session repetitive negative thinking-focused acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) protocol for depression and generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized waitlist control trial.” (See summary below or at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31944806/), Ruiz and colleagues examine the efficacy of a 2-session ACT for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and for depression.

 

They recruited via social media patients diagnosed with either Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or depression and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 2 60-minute individual sessions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). They were measured before and after treatment and 1- and 3-months month later for anxiety, depression, perceived stress, perseverative thinking, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, valued living, and generalized pliance (rule governed behavior).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the patients who received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significantly improved levels of all outcome measures including anxiety, depression, perceived stress, perseverative thinking, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, valued living, and generalized pliance that persisted at the 1- and 3-month follow-ups. Fully 91% of the patients receiving ACT had clinically significant changes in their Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or depression compared to 9% of the wait-list controls.

 

The findings are remarkable in that 2 1-hour sessions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) produced such large, significant and lasting improvements in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or depression. These disorders are widespread affecting a large number of people and are frequently debilitating or at least interfere with their ability to conduct their lives. It is exciting that a brief treatment that can be implemented cost-effectively is capable of relieving their suffering.

 

The study, however, lacked an active control condition, e.g. exercise, and so is open to a variety of confounding variables. Future research should include such an active control. The effects of confounding variables, however, generally fade fairly quickly over time. So, the fact that the current results were still large and significant 3-months later argues that the benefits were produced by ACT.

 

So, relieve generalized anxiety and depression with a 2-session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 

ACT has been used effectively to help treat workplace stress, test anxiety, social anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychosis.” – Psychology Today

 

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

 

Ruiz FJ, Peña-Vargas A, Ramírez ES, et al. Efficacy of a two-session repetitive negative thinking-focused acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) protocol for depression and generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized waitlist control trial [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jan 16]. Psychotherapy (Chic). 2020;10.1037/pst0000273. doi:10.1037/pst0000273

 

Abstract

This parallel randomized controlled trial aimed to evaluate the effect of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) focused on disrupting repetitive negative thinking (RNT) versus a waitlist control (WLC) in the treatment of depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Forty-eight participants with a main diagnosis of depression and/or GAD were allocated by means of simple randomization to a 2-session RNT-focused ACT intervention or to the WLC. The primary outcomes were emotional symptoms as measured by the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales-21. Process outcomes included ACT- and RNT-related measures: general RNT, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, values, and generalized pliance. At the 1-month follow-up, linear mixed effects models showed that the intervention was efficacious in reducing emotional symptoms (d = 2.42, 95% confidence interval [1.64, 3.19]), with 94.12% of participants in the RNT-focused ACT condition showing clinically significant change in the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales-21 total scores versus 9.09% in the WLC condition (70% vs. 8% in intention-to-treat analysis). The intervention effects were maintained at the 3-month follow-up. No adverse events were found. A very brief RNT-focused ACT intervention was highly effective in the treatment of depression and GAD.

Clinical Impact Statement Question: What is the applied clinical practice question this paper is hoping to address?

To analyze whether a 2-session acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) intervention focused on disrupting repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is effective in treating depression and GAD. Findings: How would clinicians meaningfully use the primary findings of this paper in their applied practice? Clinicians might use the RNT-focused ACT protocol to treat depression and GAD. Meaning: What are the key conclusions and implications for future clinical practice and research? The RNT-focused ACT protocol was highly effective in treating depression and GAD. Next Steps: Based on the primary findings and limitations of this paper, what are future directions to be explored in clinical practice and research? To analyze the long-term effects of the RNT-focused ACT protocol.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31944806/

 

Improve Quality of Life after a Heart Attack with Mindfulness

Improve Quality of Life after a Heart Attack with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Not only can meditation improve how your heart functions, but a regular practice can enhance your outlook on life and motivate you to maintain many heart-healthy behaviors.” – John Denninger

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments has been developed including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health and to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 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. So, it makes sense to study the efficacy of ACT for patients recovering from a heart attack.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Quality of Life in a Patient with Myocardial Infarction: A Randomized Control Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193234/), Ghahnaviyeh and colleagues recruited patients over 30 years of age who had had a myocardial infarction. They were randomly assigned to either receive 8 weekly 90 minute sessions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or to a treatment as usual control condition. They were measured before and after therapy and 6 months later for health status and quality of life.

 

They found that after therapy and 6 months later the group that received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significantly greater overall quality of life including significantly greater physical and psychological quality of life. These results suggest that ACT improves the quality of life of patients having had myocardial infarction. It remains for future research to determine the mechanisms of these effects of ACT.

 

So, improve quality of life after a heart attack with mindfulness.

 

this practice may be clinically useful in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” – Heart Matters

 

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

 

Ahmadi Ghahnaviyeh, L., Bagherian, B., Feizi, A., Afshari, A., & Mostafavi Darani, F. (2020). The Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Quality of Life in a Patient with Myocardial Infarction: A Randomized Control Trial. Iranian journal of psychiatry, 15(1), 1–9.

 

Abstract

Objective: Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) interventions increase psychological flexibility and improve mental health and quality of life in patients with myocardial infarction.

Study design: A controlled clinical trial study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of an ACT intervention in improving the quality of life in patients with MI in Isfahan, Iran.

Method : The present controlled clinical trial with a pre and post-test design was conducted on a statistical population consisting of patients with MI admitted to hospitals in Isfahan (n = 60) who were selected through sequential sampling based on the study inclusion criteria and were randomly divided into an intervention and a control group (n1 = n2 = 30). The case group received 8 weekly 90-minute sessions of ACT and the control group received no interventions. The pretest-posttest design was administered in both groups using a demographic questionnaire and the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ) designed to assess the health status of patients with heart failure in terms of quality of life. The data obtained were analyzed in SPSS-20 using descriptive statistics and the ANCOVA.

Results: In this study, 2 general areas of quality of life, including physical and mental health, were examined in the patients. There was a significant increase in the quality of life and subscales of mental and physical health in the experimental group (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Considering the effectiveness of ACT in improving quality of life in these patients, this method of intervention can be used as a complementary therapy in health care centers to reduce the side-effects experienced by these patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193234/

 

Improve Major Depressive Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Improve Major Depressive Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Insecure attachment styles are more prevalent in individuals with mood disorders and has been associated with worse clinical outcomes, whereas a secure attachment is linked to more positive health behaviors, such as greater adherence to health plans and preventive health behaviors.” – Tamara Cassis

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating and difficult to treat. It is usually treated with antidepressant medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time.

 

Attachment has been shown to affect the individual’s well-being. There are a variety of ways that individuals attach to others. They are secure, insecure, avoidant, ambivalent, fearful, preoccupied, and disorganized attachment styles. Secure attachment style is healthy and leads to positive development while all of the others are maladaptive and unhealthy. All of the  attachment styles, save secure attachment, are associated with depression.

 

Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs failAcceptance 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. 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.

 

It is possible that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may improve depression by affecting attachment. In today’s Research News article “Explicit and implicit attachment and the outcomes of acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137238/),  A-Tjak and colleagues explore this possibility. They recruited adult patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder and randomly assigned them to receive 18 weekly 50 minute sessions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). They were measured before and after treatment and 6 months later for depressive symptoms, quality of life, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance. Implicit attachment was measured with a card sorting task.

 

They found that the two treatments were equally effective producing 75% to 80% rates of remission from depression and significant reductions in depression, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance and increases in quality of life. The effects were still present at the 6-month follow-up. The decreases in attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were associated with decreases in depression and increases in quality of life while no relationships were present for implicit attachment.

 

The fact that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) were equally effective for major depression is not surprising as ACT incorporates CBT. It is interesting that the magnitude in the changes in attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were related to the improvements in depression and quality of life. But these results do not demonstrate causation, changes in attachment might cause changes in depression, changes in depression might cause changes in attachment, or therapy might change both independently. What is clear is that both ACT and CBT are highly effective and lasting treatments for major depressive disorder.

 

So, improve major depressive disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

 

Mindfulness training can “generate positive emotions by cultivating self-compassion and self-confidence through an upward spiral process.” – Amanda MacMillan

 

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

 

A-Tjak, J., Morina, N., Boendermaker, W. J., Topper, M., & Emmelkamp, P. (2020). Explicit and implicit attachment and the outcomes of acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for depression. BMC psychiatry, 20(1), 155. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02547-7

 

Abstract

Background

Attachment theory predicts that patients who are not securely attached may benefit less from psychological treatment. However, evidence on the predictive role of attachment in the effectiveness of treatment for depression is limited.

Methods

Explicit attachment styles, levels of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance, as well as implicit relational self-esteem and implicit relational anxiety were assessed in 67 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) receiving Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ANOVA and hierarchical regression analyses were performed to investigate the predictive power of explicit and implicit attachment measures on treatment outcome.

Results

Explicit attachment avoidance at pre-treatment significantly predicted reduction of depressive symptoms following treatment. Reductions in attachment anxiety and avoidance from pre- to post-treatment predicted better treatment outcomes. Neither one of the implicit measures, nor change in these measures from pre- tot post-treatment significantly predicted treatment outcome.

Conclusions

Our findings show that attachment avoidance as well as reductions in avoidant and anxious attachment predict symptom reduction after psychological treatment for depression. Future research should use larger sample sizes to further examine the role of attachment orientation as moderator and mediator of treatment outcome.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137238/

 

Improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy gaining popularity in the treatment of anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is also used to treat other conditions including depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, and substance use disorders.” – Deborah Glasofer

 

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.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Multiple-Baseline Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082425/), Ruiz and colleagues recruited 6 adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and also depression. They received a 3 session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) protocol of 90, 60, and 60 minutes focused on repetitive negative thinking implemented at different times on a multiple baseline. They were measured weekly over the internet for emotional symptoms (a combination of anxiety, depression and perceived stress), worry, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, perseverative thinking, and valuing.

 

They found that all participants demonstrated no significant changes during the 5 or more weeks of the baseline period in emotional symptoms or worry. But once Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was provided all participants immediately demonstrated a precipitous decline in emotional symptoms, worry, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, and perseverative thinking that was maintained for 3 months. Effect sizes were very large and 5 of the 6 participants had clinically significant changes in emotional symptoms and worry.

 

It is well established that mindfulness training reduces anxiety, depression, perceived, stress, and worry. Nevertheless, the results of the present study are striking. Administration of a brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)  focused on repetitive negative thinking produced dramatic clinically significant improvements in the core symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression. The fact that this was accomplished in 3-sessions is important as it reduces the investment of therapists in treatment, reducing costs and improving the numbers of people being able to be treated. These findings suggest that this brief form of mindfulness-based therapy be implemented for anxiety and deprressive disorders.

 

So, improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 

ACT helps you take action on your values, instead of letting your anxiety dictate your decisions and your days.” –  Margarita Tartakovsky

 

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

 

Ruiz, F. J., Luciano, C., Flórez, C. L., Suárez-Falcón, J. C., & Cardona-Betancourt, V. (2020). A Multiple-Baseline Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 356. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00356

 

Abstract

Repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is a core feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression. Recently, some studies have shown promising results with brief protocols of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) focused on RNT in the treatment of emotional disorders in adults. The current study analyzes the effect of an individual, 3-session, RNT-focused ACT protocol in the treatment of severe and comorbid GAD and depression. Six adults meeting criteria for both disorders and showing severe symptoms of at least one of them participated in the study. A delayed multiple-baseline design was implemented. All participants completed a 5-week baseline without showing improvement trends in emotional symptoms (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale – 21; DASS-21) and pathological worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire; PSWQ). The ACT protocol was then implemented, and a 3-month follow-up was conducted. Five of the six participants showed clinically significant changes in the DASS-21 and the PSWQ. The standardized mean difference effect sizes for single-case experimental design were very large for emotional symptoms (d = 3.34), pathological worry (d = 4.52), experiential avoidance (d = 3.46), cognitive fusion (d = 3.90), repetitive thinking (d = 4.52), and valued living (d = 0.92 and d = 1.98). No adverse events were observed. Brief, RNT-focused ACT protocols for treating comorbid GAD and depression deserve further empirical tests.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082425/

 

Improve Emotional Distress in The Elderly with Type 2 Diabetes with Mindfulness

Improve Emotional Distress in The Elderly with Type 2 Diabetes with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness based approaches has been found to be particularly effective in supporting diabetes management and the mental turmoil that is accompanied with a diagnosis of such as chronic physical illness. It can address the feelings of guilt, anger and aid self-acceptance to encourage the fulfilment of an unobstructed life. Mindfulness has also been found to have an enhanced clinical effect of glycemic control so not only aids psychological health but could potentially have a positive impact on the management of the physical condition.” – Diabetes UK

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type 2 Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Current treatments for Type 2 Diabetes focus on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 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 problems resulting from diabetes get magnified in the elderly. So, it is important to study the efficacy of ACT for Type 2 Diabetes in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Acceptance And Commitment Therapy For Emotional Distress In The Elderly With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6802537/), Maghsoudi and colleagues recruited patients with Type 2 Diabetes over 60 years of age. They all continued on routine care while half were randomly selected to receive Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in groups once a week for 90 minutes for 8 weeks. They were measured before and after training and 2 months later for diabetes-related emotional distress including the dimensions of emotional burden, physician-related distress, regimen-related distress and diabetes-related interpersonal distress.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care group the patients who received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significantly lower diabetes-related emotional distress. This lower diabetes-related emotional distress was maintained 2 months later. The study contained only a passive control condition, so caution must be exercised in interpreting the results. Nevertheless, ACT\ was a safe, effective, and lasting treatment to improve the emotions of elderly patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

So, improve emotional distress in the elderly with Type 2 Diabetes with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness training, including focused breathing and awareness training, helped U.S. veterans with diabetes significantly lower their diabetes-related distress and blood sugar levels and improve their self-management of the disease, researchers report.” – Science Daily

 

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

 

Maghsoudi, Z., Razavi, Z., Razavi, M., & Javadi, M. (2019). Efficacy Of Acceptance And Commitment Therapy For Emotional Distress In The Elderly With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy, 12, 2137–2143. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S221245

 

Abstract

Introduction

Diabetes is among the common diseases in the elderly which results in depression, anxiety, and emotional distress in the elderly and impacts the disease control by the individual. This study was conducted with the aim of exploring the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in the improvement of emotional distress in the elderly with type 2 diabetes.

Materials and methods

In this randomized control trial, 80 elderly with type 2 diabetes aged ≥60 years were randomly selected among the individuals visiting Yazd Diabetes Research Center. Then, the patients were randomly divided into two 40 individual groups, ie, the intervention group and the control group. The intervention group underwent group ACT during eight 90-min sessions. The diabetes-related emotional distress questionnaire was completed before the intervention, after the end of the group sessions and 2 months after that. The statistical software SPSS version 21 was used for data analysis.

Results

The emotional mean scores in the intervention and control groups were not significantly different before the intervention. However, the mean score of the intervention group was lower than of the control group immediately after the intervention (p=0.02) and 2 months after the intervention (p=0.02).

Conclusion

ACT results in the improvement of diabetes-related emotional distress in the intervention group. Considering the effectiveness of ACT, this therapeutic method is recommended to be used for the amelioration of emotional distress in the elderly with type 2 diabetes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6802537/

 

Improve the Well-Being of Mothers of Children with Autism with Mindfulness

Improve the Well-Being of Mothers of Children with Autism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder . . . who engage in a mindfulness-based practice see a decrease in their child’s aggression and challenging behaviors and an improvement in the child’s overall functioning.” – Katy Oberle

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving in the US. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) provides care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. This caregiving comes at a cost exacting a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality.

 

Providing care for a child with autism can be particularly challenging. About one out of every 68 children is considered autistic. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that 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 application of mindfulness skills to the parents of children with autism is relatively new. So, it would seem reasonable to investigate the ability of ACT to improve the psychological well-being of mothers of children with autism.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Group Based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on Emotion Cognitive Regulation Strategies in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861729/?report=classic), Salimi and colleagues recruited mothers of children with autism and randomly assigned them to receive either a once a week for 2 hours for 8 weeks program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or a health education control condition. They were measured before and after training for emotion regulation including self-blaming, blaming others and positive reevaluation, blaming, rumination, considering a situation as disastrous, reception, planning/positive refocuses.

 

They found that after treatment the mothers showed a significant increase in reception, planning/positive refocuses and significant decreases in self-blaming, blaming others and positive reevaluation, blaming, and considering a situation as disastrous. Hence, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) significantly improved the ability of mothers of children with autism to regulate their emotions. This is very important as these mothers are extremely important for these children but under great stress and emotional turmoil. Being able to improve their psychological well-being is important for both the mother and child.

 

So, improve the well-being of mothers of children with autism with mindfulness.

 

“People who practice mindfulness learn to pay specific attention to what is happening in the moment — and that includes moments that are stressful or chaotic. It is easy to get overtaken by stress or negativity, but mindfulness teaches people to find distance from their negative thoughts by learning to acknowledge them and label them when they happen.” – Julianne Garey

 

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

 

Salimi, M., Mahdavi, A., Yeghaneh, S. S., Abedin, M., & Hajhosseini, M. (2019). The Effectiveness of Group Based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on Emotion Cognitive Regulation Strategies in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum. Maedica, 14(3), 240–246. doi:10.26574/maedica.2019.14.3.240

 

Abstract

Background:Autism spectrum disorder has a big impact on family life. Mothers of children with autism face many challenges. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of group-based acceptance and commitment therapy on cognitive emotion regulation strategies in mothers of children with autism.

Method:This is a quasi-experimental study with a pretest-posttest control group design. The research population included mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder referring to exceptional schools, who were living in Tehran. After cluster random sampling, 30 mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder were selected and randomly assigned to two groups: an experimental group and a control group, each consisting of 15 women. Participants responded to the cognitive emotion regulation questionnaire vulbefore and after intervention. The experimental group received group-based acceptance and commitment therapy (eight two-hour sessions), while no intervention was given to the control group.

Results and conclusion:Covariance analysis of data showed that group-based acceptance and commitment therapy had a significant effect on positive/planning strategy refocusing (p=0.003), positive reappraisal (p=0.004), self-blaming (p=0.001), blaming others (p=0.007), considering a situation as disastrous (p=0.001), reception (p=0.008). However, there was not a significant difference in the dimensions of rumination (p=0.025). Therefore, it is recommended that welfare institutions and centers should provide a training plan based on acceptance and commitment therapy to improve the current cognitive emotion regulation strategies for mothers of children with autism spectrum.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861729/?report=classic

 

Mindfulness Produces Long-Term Reductions in Depression and Depression Relapse

Mindfulness Produces Long-Term Reductions in Depression and Depression Relapse

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Instead of getting sucked into our emotions or our thoughts, which is what happens when we’re depressed or anxious, we see them as those thoughts again, or those feelings again, and that disempowers them.” – Daniel Goleman

 

Depression affects over 6% of the population. Depression can be difficult to treat. It is usually treated with antidepressant medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering.

 

Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs failAcceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 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.

 

Attention Bias Modification (ABM) involves simple computerized training to increase attention to positive stimuli. It is not known if ABM might supplement Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to further decrease depression relapse rates. In today’s Research News article “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Preceded by Attention Bias Modification on Residual Symptoms in Depression: A 12-Month Follow-Up.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727662/), Østergaard and colleagues examined the combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and  Attention Bias Modification (ABM) to reduce depression relapse.

 

They recruited participants who had a history of depression but were not currently in a depressive episode. They were randomly assigned to receive a single session of either Attention Bias Modification (ABM) training or a control condition that was very similar except that attention to both positive and negative stimuli were equally reinforced. They were then assigned to either receive 8 once a week, 2.5 hour session of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or no treatment. Participants were measured before and after training and each month over the subsequent year for depression, depression relapse, and feasibility and acceptability of treatments.

 

They found that Attention Bias Modification (ABM) did not significantly affect depression or relapse. On the other hand, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with or without prior Attention Bias Modification (ABM) training produced significant reductions in both self-report and clinician reported levels of depression that continued to decline over the year follow-up period. They also found that over the 12-month follow-up 79% of the participants who received ACT training did not have another depressive episode while only 55% of the control participants did not have a relapse. Hence, ACT significantly reduces depression levels and depression relapse over a year following treatment.

 

These are impressive results. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is not only a safe and effective mindfulness-based treatment to reduce depression and depression relapse in people with a history of depression but also has a sustained impact lasting for at least a year following treatment. It is unusual for studies to have such long-term follow-up. It is important that ACT has such sustained benefits.

 

So, produce long-term reductions in depression and depression relapse with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is a valuable practice for improving the cognitive symptoms of depression, such as distorted thinking and distractibility. It helps individuals recognize these more subtle symptoms, realize that thoughts are not facts and refocus their attention to the present.” –  Margarita Tartakovsky

 

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

 

Tom Østergaard, Tobias Lundgren, Ingvar Rosendahl, Robert D. Zettle, Rune Jonassen, Catherine J. Harmer, Tore C. Stiles, Nils Inge Landrø, Vegard Øksendal Haaland. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Preceded by Attention Bias Modification on Residual Symptoms in Depression: A 12-Month Follow-Up. Front Psychol. 2019; 10: 1995. Published online 2019 Aug 29. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01995

 

Abstract

Depression is a highly recurrent disorder with limited treatment alternatives for reducing risk of subsequent episodes. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and attention bias modification (ABM) separately have shown some promise in reducing depressive symptoms. This study investigates (a) if group-based ACT had a greater impact in reducing residual symptoms of depression over a 12-month follow-up than a control condition, and (b) if preceding ACT with ABM produced added benefits. This multisite study consisted of two phases. In phase 1, participants with a history of depression, currently in remission (N = 244), were randomized to either receive 14 days of ABM or a control condition. In phase 2, a quasi- experimental design was adopted, and only phase-1 participants from the Sørlandet site (N = 124) next received an 8-week group-based ACT intervention. Self-reported and clinician-rated depression symptoms were assessed at baseline, immediately after phase 1 and at 1, 2, 6, and 12 months after the conclusion of phase 1. At 12-month follow-up, participants who received ACT exhibited fewer self-reported and clinician-rated depressive symptoms. There were no significant differences between ACT groups preceded by ABM or a control condition. There were no significant differences between ACT groups preceded by ABM or a control condition. Group-based ACT successfully decreased residual symptoms in depression over 12 months, suggesting some promise in preventing relapse.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727662/