Reduce the Risk of Suicide in Adolescents with Mindfulness

Reduce the Risk of Suicide in Adolescents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

results support DBT as the first well-established, empirically supported treatment for decreasing repeated suicide attempts and self-harm in youths.” — Christina Vogt

 

Around 43,000 people take their own lives each year in the US. Someone dies from suicide every 12.3 minutes. Worldwide over 800,000 people die by suicide every year. The problem is far worse than these statistics suggest as it has been estimated that for every completed suicide there were 12 unsuccessful attempts. In other words, about a half a million people in the U.S. attempt suicide each year. Yet compared with other life-threatening conditions there has been scant research on how to identify potential suicide attempters, intervene, and reduce suicidality.

 

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 adolescent can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. This can produce despair leading to suicide. Indeed, suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents.

 

Mindfulness training for children and adolescents has been shown to have very positive effects. These include academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health of adolescents. Importantly, mindfulness training with children and adolescents appears to improve the self-conceptimprove attentional ability and reduce stress. This suggests that mindfulness practices may be effective in reducing the risk of suicide in adolescents. Indeed, mindfulness training has been shown to reduce suicidality.

 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness-based therapy targeted at changing the problem behaviors including self-injury and suicide. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. Hence it makes sense to review the published research studies examining the effectiveness of DBT for the reduction of the risk of suicide in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Recent advances in understanding and managing self-harm in adolescents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6816451/), Clarke and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the use of various therapeutic techniques including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for the reduction of the risk of suicide in adolescents. They report that the published research supports the ability of mindfulness-based interventions, especially DBT for the reduction of self-injurious behaviors in adolescents with a high risk of suicide. It appears that the most important components for the effectiveness of DBT are “family involvement, emotion regulation skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills.” As a result, they deem DBT as “the first and only “well-established” treatment for suicidal and [self-injurious]  adolescents.”

 

So, reduce the risk of suicide in adolescents with mindfulness.

 

One RCT of DBT with adolescents has been conducted in Norway demonstrating greater reductions in self-harm behaviors than enhanced usual care at 19 week and one year follow-up.” Michele Berk

 

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

 

Clarke, S., Allerhand, L. A., & Berk, M. S. (2019). Recent advances in understanding and managing self-harm in adolescents. F1000Research, 8, F1000 Faculty Rev-1794. doi:10.12688/f1000research.19868.1

 

Abstract

Adolescent suicide is a serious public health problem, and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is both highly comorbid with suicidality among adolescents and a significant predictor of suicide attempts (SAs) in adolescents. We will clarify extant definitions related to suicidality and NSSI and the important similarities and differences between these constructs. We will also review several significant risk factors for suicidality, evidence-based and evidence-informed safety management strategies, and evidence-based treatment for adolescent self-harming behaviors. Currently, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for adolescents is the first and only treatment meeting the threshold of a well-established treatment for self-harming adolescents at high risk for suicide. Areas in need of future study include processes underlying the association between NSSI and SAs, clarification of warning signs and risk factors that are both sensitive and specific enough to accurately predict who is at imminent risk for suicide, and further efforts to sustain the effects of DBT post-treatment. DBT is a time- and labor-intensive treatment that requires extensive training for therapists and a significant time commitment for families (generally 6 months). It will therefore be helpful to assess whether other less-intensive treatment options can be established as evidence-based treatment for suicidal adolescents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6816451/

 

Improve Borderline Personality Disorder with Dual Diagnosis with Mindfulness

Improve Borderline Personality Disorder with Dual Diagnosis with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The pain, emotional instability and impulsive behavior of borderline personality disorder place these individuals at risk of drug or alcohol abuse.– Foundation Recovery

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a very serious mental illness that is estimated to affect 1.6% of the U.S. population. It involves unstable moods, behavior, and relationships, problems with regulating emotions and thoughts, impulsive and reckless behavior, and unstable relationships. BPD is associated with high rates of co-occurring depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides. Needless to say, it is widespread and debilitating.

 

One of the few treatments that appears to be effective for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is targeted at changing the problem behaviors characteristic of BPD through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) frequently occurs with other problems, particularly drug and alcohol abuse. This dual diagnosis increases the issues presenting with the patient. It is therefore important to establish if Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is effective in the dual diagnosis patients. In today’s Research News article “Does an adapted Dialectical Behaviour Therapy skills training programme result in positive outcomes for participants with a dual diagnosis? A mixed methods study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6694661/?report=classic), Flynn and colleagues examine the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills training for patients with dual diagnosis.

 

They recruited patients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and substance abuse (primarily alcohol abuse). The patients were treated with a 48-week program of skills training adapted from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT); mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. They were measured before and after treatment and 6 months later for mindfulness, emotion regulation, coping behavior, and the frequency and severity of substance abuse. At the end of the program they were interviewed regarding their experiences with the program.

 

They found that compared with baseline, at the end of the program there were significant increases in mindfulness and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills use and significant reductions in dysfunctional coping behavior and emotional dysregulation that were maintained at the 6-month follow-up. Substance abuse was also significantly reduced after treatment. There was still a reduced use at the 6-month follow-up but it was no longer statistically significant. In the interviews the patients reported that the program improved their self-assurance and confidence, but there was a need for continued care after the end of the program.

 

These results are important as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is extremely difficult to treat and when it is combined with substance abuse it is even more difficult to treat. It is very encouraging that training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness is effective in improving emotion regulation and coping behavior and reducing substance abuse in BPD patients with dual diagnosis. This suggests that this skills training may be an acceptable and effective treatment for patients with both BPD and substance abuse.

 

So, improve borderline personality disorder with dual diagnosis with mindfulness.

 

“[Dialectical Behavior Therapy] DBT is reported to reduce suicidal behavior, non-suicidal self-injurious behavior, other impulsive behaviors strongly linked with borderline personality disorder, and significantly reduce psychiatric hospitalization (relapse), self-injury, and depression among adolescents and adults.” – Burning Tree

 

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

 

Flynn, D., Joyce, M., Spillane, A., Wrigley, C., Corcoran, P., Hayes, A., … Mooney, B. (2019). Does an adapted Dialectical Behaviour Therapy skills training programme result in positive outcomes for participants with a dual diagnosis? A mixed methods study. Addiction science & clinical practice, 14(1), 28. doi:10.1186/s13722-019-0156-2

 

Abstract

Background

Treating severe emotional dysregulation and co-occurring substance misuse is challenging. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive and evidence-based treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). It has been hypothesised that the skills training, which is a facet of the full DBT programme, might be effective for people with severe emotional dysregulation and other co-occurring conditions, but who do not meet the criteria for BPD. However, there is limited research on standalone DBT skills training for people with substance misuse and emotional dysregulation.

Methods

A mixed methods study employing an explanatory sequential design was conducted where participants with a dual diagnosis (n = 64) were recruited from a community-based public addiction treatment service in Ireland between March 2015 and January 2018. DBT therapists screened potential participants against the study eligibility criteria. Quantitative self-report measures examining emotion regulation, mindfulness, adaptive and maladaptive coping responses including substance misuse, and qualitative feedback from participants were collected. Quantitative data were summarised by their mean and standard deviation and multilevel linear mixed effects models were used to estimate the mean change from baseline to post-intervention and the 6-month follow-up period. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data.

Results

Quantitative results indicated reductions in binge drinking and use of Class A, B and C drug use from pre-intervention (T1) to the 6-month follow-up (T3). Additionally, significant improvements were noted for mindfulness practice and DBT skills use from T1 to T3 (p < 0.001). There were also significant reductions in dysfunctional coping and emotional dysregulation from T1 to T3 (p < 0.001). Significant differences were identified from pre to post intervention in reported substance use, p = 0.002. However, there were no significant differences between pre-intervention and 6-month follow up reports of substance use or at post-intervention to 6 month follow up. Qualitative findings indicated three superordinate themes in relation to participants’ experiences of a DBT skills training programme, adapted from standard DBT: (1) new lease of life; (2) need for continued formal aftercare and (3) programme improvements. Participants described reductions in substance misuse, while having increased confidence to use the DBT skills they had learned in the programme to deal with difficult emotions and life stressors.

Conclusions

This DBT skills training programme, adapted from standard DBT, showed positive results for participants and appears effective in treating people with co-occurring disorders. Qualitative results of this mixed methods study corroborate the quantitative results indicating that the experiences of participants have been positive. The study indicates that a DBT skills programme may provide a useful therapeutic approach to managing co-occurring symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6694661/?report=classic

 

Improve Bipolar Disorder with a Mindfulness-Based Therapy (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, DBT)

Improve Bipolar Disorder with a Mindfulness-Based Therapy (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, DBT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The skills training and treatment model of DBT is applicable to people living with a range of mental health conditions. Practicing mindfulness helps people with and without mental health conditions to improve well-being, attention to the present moment, and increasing positive emotional experiences while decreasing negative emotions and distress. This is why people with depression, bipolar, anxiety, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions may benefit from mindfulness practice and the other skills that form dialectical behavior therapy.” – Jeremy Schwartz

 

Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depressive Disorder, is a mood disorder characterized by alternating states of extreme depression, relative normalcy, and extreme euphoria (mania). The symptoms of depression and mania are so severe that the individual is debilitated and unable to conduct their normal daily lives. The depression is so severe that suicide occurs in about 1% of cases of Bipolar Disorder. There are great individual differences in Bipolar Disorder. The extreme mood swings can last for a few days to months and can occur only once or reoccur frequently.

 

Bipolar Disorder affects about 1% of the population throughout the world at any time. But about 3% to 10% of the population may experience it sometime during their lives. It is usually treated with drugs. But these medications are not always effective and can have difficult side effects. Hence, there is a great need for alternative treatments. Mindfulness practices and treatments have been shown to be effective for major mental disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders and to improve the regulation of emotions.

 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness-based therapy targeted at changing the problem behaviors. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. So, it makes sense to further study the ability of DBT to treat the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy on Executive Function, Emotional Control and Severity of Symptoms in Patients with Bipolar I Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6796294/), Zagar and colleagues recruited patients with Bipolar Disorder Type 1, aged 20-45 years, and were randomly assigned to receive either Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) or no additional treatment. All participants maintained their prescribed drug regimen. DBT was delivered in 12 weekly, 1.5 hour sessions. They were measured before and after treatment and 3 months later for mania, depression, emotional control, and cognitive executive function.

 

They found that the group receiving Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) had significant reductions in mania and depressed mood following the treatment. These results suggest that DBT is a safe and effective treatment for Bipolar Disorder when provided in addition to drug therapy. No 3-month follow-up measures were reported. Hence, it is not known whether these improvements are lasting. Further research is warranted.

 

So, improve Bipolar Disorder with a mindfulness-based therapy (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, DBT).

 

DBT helps people learn and implement four skills to create what they determine to be a life worth living: mindfulness, the ability to tolerate distress, the ability to regulate emotions, and healthy communication skills.” – Robin Flanigan

 

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

 

Zargar, F., Haghshenas, N., Rajabi, F., & Tarrahi, M. J. (2019). Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy on Executive Function, Emotional Control and Severity of Symptoms in Patients with Bipolar I Disorder. Advanced biomedical research, 8, 59. doi:10.4103/abr.abr_42_19

 

Abstract

Background:

Bipolar disorder is a disabling illness characterized by recurrent episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression. The dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is basically designed to help regulate excitement, tolerance of discomfort, mindfulness and interpersonal relationships. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of DBT on executive function, emotional control and symptom relief in patients with type 1 bipolar disorder.

Materials and Methods:

This clinical trial was conducted on 50 patients with type 1 bipolar disorder. These patients were divided into two 25 populated groups of controls and intervention. The control group did not receive any other alternative therapy apart from routine medications, but in the intervention group, in addition to routine medications, DBT treatment was also done as complementary therapy in 12 sessions based on Dick’s protocol. Then, Mania severity, emotional control and their executive functions were evaluated before and after the intervention and compared in two groups.

Results:

After the intervention, the scores of mania and depression mood with the mean of 2.12 ± 3.09 and 31.08 ± 8.98 respectively in intervention group were significantly lower than control group with the mean of 4.24 ± 4.11 and 39.92 ± 9.05 respectively (P < 0.05). Depression and executive function of the patients had no significant difference between the two groups in the post-intervention period and had a modest and non-significant change.

Conclusion:

DBT has been effective in decreasing the intensity of mania, but, it cannot be used to reduce the emotional instability and impulsivity of these patients along with drug therapy although it has improved the executive functions and depression of the patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6796294/

 

Adolescent Characteristics that Predict Success of Mindfulness Therapy to Reduce Self-Harm and Suicidality

Adolescent Characteristics that Predict Success of Mindfulness Therapy to Reduce Self-Harm and Suicidality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The pain of depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it,  and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne.
The prevention of many suicides will continue to be hindered until there is a general awareness of the nature of this pain.” – William Styron

 

Around 43,000 people take their own lives each year in the US. Someone dies from suicide every 12.3 minutes. Worldwide over 800,000 people die by suicide every year. (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education). It is much more prevalent with males who account for 79% of suicides. The problem is far worse than these statistics suggest as it has been estimated that for every completed suicide there were 12 unsuccessful attempts. In other words, about a half a million people in the U.S. attempt suicide each year. Yet compared with other life-threatening conditions there has been scant research on how to identify potential suicide attempters, intervene, and reduce suicidality.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce suicidality. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness-based therapy targeted at changing the problem behaviors including self-injury and suicide. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. It is important to identify the characteristics of adolescents who are most likely to benefit from DBT for the reduction of suicide.

 

In today’s Research News article “Predictors and moderators of recurring self‐harm in adolescents participating in a comparative treatment trial of psychological interventions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jcpp.13099), Adrian and colleagues recruited adolescents with previous lifetime suicide attempt, repetitive self‐harm in the past 12 weeks, borderline personality disorder (BPD) characteristics, and clinically significant suicidal ideation. They were randomly assigned to receive 6-months of either Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) or individual/group supportive therapy. They were measured before and after treatment and at the midpoint of treatment for suicide attempts, non-suicidal self-injuries, self-harm, prior self-harm severity, externalizing symptoms, other psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, PTSD symptoms, borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms, adolescent-parent conflict, and emotional dysregulation. In addition, their parents were measured for emotional distress and adolescent-parent conflict.

 

They found that non-white adolescents had a greater response to treatment than white adolescents in the reduction in suicide ideation. The adolescent’s pre-treatment history also affected the response to treatment with adolescents with greater levels of family conflict, more extensive self‐harm histories, and more externalizing problems having a greater reduction in self-harm. They also found that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was more effective for adolescents who were high in emotional dysregulation and whose parents had greater psychopathology and emotional dysregulation.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that certain adolescents are more responsive to treatment than others. Non-white (particularly Latino) youths, adolescents with greater levels of family conflict, more extensive self‐harm histories, more externalizing problems, higher in emotional dysregulation and whose parents had greater psychopathology and emotional dysregulation had more positive changes produced by therapy. These factors may be used to triage which youths would be most likely to benefit from different therapies and thus may potentiate therapeutic benefits.

 

Suicide is a major problem for adolescents and self-harm, self-injury, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts are all indicators of potential lethal outcomes. So, treatment is extremely important. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) appears to be effective but it is particularly effective for certain youths. Knowing this can help target and refine therapy to improve therapeutic effectiveness in reducing suicides in adolescents.

 

So, reduce suicidality in certain adolescents with mindfulness.

 

“Being curious about your suicidal thoughts is another part of mindful observation. If you have the thought, “I should kill myself,” how does it affect the thought’s meaning to then tell yourself, “Hmm, I wonder why I just had the thought that I should kill myself?” – Stacey Freedenthal

 

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

 

Molly Adrian, Elizabeth McCauley, Michele S. Berk, Joan R. Asarnow, Kathryn Korslund, Claudia Avina, Robert Gallop, Marsha M. Linehan. Predictors and moderators of recurring self‐harm in adolescents participating in a comparative treatment trial of psychological interventions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 30 July 2019, 60(10), 1123-1132, https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13099

 

Key points

  • Adolescent prior self‐harm, externalizing problems, and reported family conflict were significant predictors of change in self‐harm, NSSI, and suicidal ideation, where adolescents with higher family conflict and less severe self‐harm history produced on average more reduction in SH from baseline to post‐treatment.
  • DBT produced better rate of improvement compared to IGST for adolescents who were emotionally dysregulation and whose parents had higher baseline emotion dysregulation and psychopathology.
  • Clinicians could consider either IGST or DBT for adolescents with self‐harm histories whose parents are well regulated and do not have impairing psychopathology. Adolescents with emotional dysregulation and parents with psychopathology and emotion dysregulation may benefit more from DBT than IGST.

Abstract

Background

In primary analyses, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was associated with greater reduction in self‐harm during treatment than individual/group supportive therapy (IGST). The objective of this paper was to examine predictors and moderators of treatment outcomes for suicidal adolescents who participated in a randomized controlled trial evaluating DBT and IGST.

Methods

Adolescents (N = 173) were included in the intent‐to‐treat sample and randomized to receive 6 months of DBT or IGST. Potential baseline predictors and moderators were identified within four categories: demographics, severity markers, parental psychopathology, and psychosocial variables. Primary outcomes were suicide attempts (SA) and nonsuicidal self‐injury evaluated at baseline, midtreatment (3 months), and end of treatment (6 months) via the Suicide Attempt and Self‐Injury Interview (Psychological Assessment, 18, 2006, 303). For each moderator or predictor, a generalized linear mixed model was conducted to examine main and interactive effects of treatment and the candidate variable on outcomes.

Results

Adolescents with higher family conflict, more extensive self‐harm histories, and more externalizing problems produced on average more reduction on SH frequency from baseline to post‐treatment. Adolescents meeting BPD diagnosis were more likely to have high SH frequency at post‐treatment. Analyses indicated significant moderation effects for emotion dysregulation on NSSI and SH. DBT was associated with better rates of improvement compared to IGST for adolescents with higher baseline emotion dysregulation and those whose parents reported greater psychopathology and emotion dysregulation. A significant moderation effect for ethnicity on SA over the treatment period was observed, where DBT produced better rate of improvement compared to IGST for Hispanic/Latino individuals.

Conclusions

These findings may help to inform salient treatment targets and guide treatment planning. Adolescents that have high levels of family conflict, externalizing problems, and increased level of severity markers demonstrated the most change in self‐harm behaviors over the course of treatment and benefitted from both treatment interventions. Those with higher levels of emotion dysregulation and parent psychopathology may benefit more from the DBT.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jcpp.13099

 

Brain Activity Predicts the Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Brain Activity Predicts the Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). . . is a type of psychotherapy, sometimes called “talk therapy,” used to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).” – Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a very serious mental illness that is estimated to affect 1.6% of the U.S. population. It involves unstable moods, behavior, and relationships, problems with regulating emotions and thoughts, impulsive and reckless behavior, and unstable relationships. BPD is associated with high rates of co-occurring depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides. Needless to say, it is widespread and debilitating.

 

One of the few treatments that appears to be effective for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is targeted at changing the problem behaviors characteristic of BPD including self-injury. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness.

 

The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity. It is unknown how Dialectical Behavior Therapy may interact with brain systems to improve the responsiveness of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

 

In today’s Research News article “Individualized treatment response prediction of dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder using multimodal magnetic resonance imaging.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6749487/), Schmitgen and colleagues recruited female patients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who were treated with a 12-week program of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). They were classified into patients who had significantly benefited from treatment (responders) and those who did not (non-responders). Prior to the therapy the participants underwent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of their brains while performing cognitive reappraisal, sensory distraction and cognitive distraction tasks. They were also measured for BPD symptom severity, emotion regulation, dissociative experiences, anxiety, depression, and working memory.

 

They found that before treatment responders had significantly higher levels of borderline symptoms and borderline severity and higher anxiety levels than non-responders. They also found that activation of the amygdala and parahippocampus areas during a cognitive reappraisal task, along with borderline personality disorder severity and the gray matter volume of the amygdala produced the best predictors of responders vs. non-responders.

 

It appears that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) works best with patients who have the most severe symptoms and whose amygdala and parahippocampus areas are largest and respond most to a cognitive reappraisal task. These areas are associated with the brain systems underlying emotion regulation. Hence, the results suggest that particularly severe borderline patients whose brains respond best to emotional stimuli are the best responders to DBT. This suggests that the patients whose brains are best able to regulate emotions respond best to DBT.

 

Hence, brain activity predicts the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

 

“one thing that has really helped in my recovery process, I would say dialectical behavior therapy. I eat, sleep and breathe DBT. I can give you a damn good crash course in mindfulness, which is a core concept in DBT. I can teach you about self-validation. I can spoon-feed you lessons and lessons on interpersonal effectiveness. DBT has truly been a gift to me.” – Borderline Beauty

 

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

 

Schmitgen, M. M., Niedtfeld, I., Schmitt, R., Mancke, F., Winter, D., Schmahl, C., & Herpertz, S. C. (2019). Individualized treatment response prediction of dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder using multimodal magnetic resonance imaging. Brain and behavior, 9(9), e01384. doi:10.1002/brb3.1384

 

Abstract

Introduction

Individualized treatment prediction is crucial for the development and selection of personalized psychiatric interventions. Here, we use random forest classification via pretreatment clinical and demographical (CD), functional, and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) to predict individual treatment response.

Methods

Before dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), 31 female patients underwent functional (three different emotion regulation tasks) and structural MRI. DBT response was predicted using CD and MRI data in previously identified anatomical regions, which have been reported to be multimodally affected in BPD.

Results

Amygdala and parahippocampus activation during a cognitive reappraisal task (in contrasts displaying neural activation for emotional challenge and for regulation), along with severity measures of BPD psychopathology and gray matter volume of the amygdala, provided best predictive power with neuronal hyperractivities in nonresponders. All models, except one model using CD data solely, achieved significantly better accuracy (>70.25%) than a simple all‐respond model, with sensitivity and specificity of >0.7 and >0.7, as well as positive and negative likelihood ratios of >2.74 and <0.36 each. Surprisingly, a model combining all data modalities only reached rank five of seven. Among the functional tasks, only the activation elicited by a cognitive reappraisal paradigm yielded sufficient predictive power to enter the final models.

Conclusion

This proof of principle study shows that it is possible to achieve good predictions of psychotherapy outcome to find the most valid predictors among numerous variables via using a random forest classification approach.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6749487/

 

Reduce Suicide with Mindfulness

Reduce Suicide with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The pain of depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne.
The prevention of many suicides will continue to be hindered until there is a general awareness of the nature of this pain.” – William Styron

 

After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause. Around 43,000 people take their own lives each year in the US. Someone dies from suicide every 12.3 minutes. Worldwide over 800,000 people die by suicide every year. (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education). It is much more prevalent with males who account for 79% of suicides. The problem is far worse than these statistics suggest as it has been estimated that for every completed suicide there were 12 unsuccessful attempts. In other words, about a half a million people in the U.S. attempt suicide each year. Yet compared with other life-threatening conditions there has been scant research on how to identify potential suicide attempters, intervene, and reduce suicidality.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce suicidality. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness-based therapy targeted at changing the problem behaviors including self-injury and suicide. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. Hence it makes sense to further study the ability of DBT to reduce suicides in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents at High Risk for Suicide: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6584278/), McCauley and colleagues recruited adolescents (12-18 years of age) with at least one suicide attempt, elevated suicide ideation, a history of self-harm, and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). They were randomly assigned to receive 6 months of individualized group therapy either of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) or individual and group non-directive supportive therapy. They were measured before, midway and after treatment and 3 and 6 months later for suicides, suicide ideation, self-harm, mood, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), substance abuse, and externalizing symptoms.

 

They found that in comparison to individual and group non-directive supportive therapy, the participants in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) attended more sessions, remained in treatment longer, and had higher completing rates. Importantly, after treatment, the group receiving Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) had significantly fewer suicide attempts, less self-harm, and significantly higher rates of clinical change.

 

These are important results that suggests that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an effective treatment for adolescents with a history of suicide attempts and self-harm. Since compliance and completion rates were high, it suggests that the treatment was acceptable to the youths. The fact that DBT was compared to another therapy is important as it demonstrates that participant expectancy effects or placebo effects cannot account for the findings. They are also important as they suggest that DBT may help save adolescent lives in a very vulnerable population or at the very least help to relieve their suffering.

 

So, reduce suicide with mindfulness.

 

“In general, the practice of mindfulness involves observing your thoughts without buying into them. You label your thoughts as just that – thoughts. Not necessarily truth. Not necessarily a call to action. If you have the thought, “I should kill myself,” you can then observe, “I just had the thought that I should kill myself.” – Stephanie Freedenthal

 

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

 

McCauley, E., Berk, M. S., Asarnow, J. R., Adrian, M., Cohen, J., Korslund, K., … Linehan, M. M. (2018). Efficacy of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents at High Risk for Suicide: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA psychiatry, 75(8), 777–785. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1109

 

Key Points

Question

Is dialectical behavior therapy more effective than individual and group supportive therapy in reducing suicide attempts and nonsuicidal self-injury in suicidal adolescents?

Findings

This multisite randomized clinical trial of 173 adolescents indicated a significant advantage for dialectical behavior therapy compared with individual and group supportive therapy for reducing repeat suicide attempts, nonsuicidal self-injury, and total self-harm after treatment. Although the dialectical behavior therapy advantage weakened over time, secondary analyses indicated that youths receiving dialectical behavior therapy were more likely to respond to treatment, indexed by the absence of any self-harm, after treatment and at 12-month follow-up.

Meaning

Dialectical behavior therapy is effective for reducing repeat suicide attempts among highly suicidal adolescents, underscoring the value of dialectical behavior therapy in suicide prevention initiatives.

Abstract

Importance

Suicide is a leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-old individuals in the United States; evidence on effective treatment for adolescents who engage in suicidal and self-harm behaviors is limited.

Objective

To evaluate the efficacy of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) compared with individual and group supportive therapy (IGST) for reducing suicide attempts, nonsuicidal self-injury, and overall self-harm among high-risk youths.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This randomized clinical trial was conducted from January 1, 2012, through August 31, 2014, at 4 academic medical centers. A total of 173 participants (pool of 195; 22 withdrew or were excluded) 12 to 18 years of age with a prior lifetime suicide attempt (≥3 prior self-harm episodes, suicidal ideation, or emotional dysregulation) were studied. Adaptive randomization balanced participants across conditions within sites based on age, number of prior suicide attempts, and psychotropic medication use. Participants were followed up for 1 year.

Interventions

Study participants were randomly assigned to DBT or IGST. Treatment duration was 6 months. Both groups had weekly individual and group psychotherapy, therapist consultation meetings, and parent contact as needed.

Main Outcomes and Measures

A priori planned outcomes were suicide attempts, nonsuicidal self-injury, and total self-harm assessed using the Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview.

Results

A total of 173 adolescents (163 [94.8%] female and 97 [56.4%] white; mean [SD] age, 14.89 [1.47] years) were studied. Significant advantages were found for DBT on all primary outcomes after treatment: suicide attempts (65 [90.3%] of 72 receiving DBT vs 51 [78.9%] of 65 receiving IGST with no suicide attempts; odds ratio [OR], 0.30; 95% CI, 0.10-0.91), nonsuicidal self-injury (41 [56.9%] of 72 receiving DBT vs 26 [40.0%] of 65 receiving IGST with no self-injury; OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.13-0.70), and self-harm (39 [54.2%] of 72 receiving DBT vs 24 [36.9%] of 65 receiving IGST with no self-harm; OR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.14-0.78). Rates of self-harm decreased through 1-year follow-up. The advantage of DBT decreased, with no statistically significant between-group differences from 6 to 12 months (OR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.12-3.36; P = .61). Treatment completion rates were higher for DBT (75.6%) than for IGST (55.2%), but pattern-mixture models indicated that this difference did not informatively affect outcomes.

Conclusions and Relevance

The results of this trial support the efficacy of DBT for reducing self-harm and suicide attempts in highly suicidal self-harming adolescents. On the basis of the criteria of 2 independent trials supporting efficacy, results support DBT as the first well-established, empirically supported treatment for decreasing repeated suicide attempts and self-harm in youths.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6584278/Importance

 

Improve Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder with Mindfulness

Improve Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness techniques. . . . can prevent destructive behaviors such as not eating, purging, or eating until uncomfortably full. If individuals take a step back and focus on the present moment and their feelings, they will be able to transform impulsive eating habits into healthy thoughts and behaviors.” – Eating Disorders Recovery

 

Around 30 million people in the United States of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder; either anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. Eating disorders are not just troubling psychological problems, they can be deadly, having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Binge eating disorder involves eating a large amount of food within a short time-period while experiencing a sense of loss of control over eating. Bulimia involves binge-eating and also involves purging (e.g., self-induced vomiting, compensatory exercise).

 

Eating disorders can be difficult to treat because eating is necessary and cannot be simply stopped as in smoking cessation or abstaining from drugs or alcohol. One must learn to eat appropriately not stop. So, it is important to find methods that can help prevent and treat eating disorders. Contemplative practices, mindfulness, and mindful eating have shown promise for treating eating disorders. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based therapy that has also been shown to alter eating behavior. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) produces behavior change by focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. Mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments in general produce change by targeting acceptance, mindfulness, psychological flexibility, cognitive diffusion/distancing, and emotion regulation.

 

Scientific studies of the application of mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments for eating disorders has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and take a look at what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Mechanisms and moderators in mindfulness- and acceptance-based treatments for binge eating spectrum disorders: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6570825/), Barney and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published scientific research on the effectiveness of mindfulness and acceptance based therapies for the treatment of bulimia and binge eating disorder. They identified 39 studies, 7 utilizing ACT, 22 DBT, and 10 mindfulness-based interventions.

 

They report that the published research studies found that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) produced significant improvements in bulimia and binge eating disorder and it appears that ACT has its effects by improving psychological flexibility. They also report that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) similarly produced significant improvements in bulimia and binge eating disorder and it appears that DBT has its effects by improving emotion regulation. Finally, they report that mindfulness-based interventions also produced significant improvements in bulimia and binge eating disorder and it appears that these therapies have their effects by improving mindfulness and awareness skills.

 

Hence, the published scientific research clearly establishes that mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies are safe and effective for the treatment of bulimia and binge eating disorder. It appears that the different therapies may work through different processes in having their effects on eating disorders. The authors conclude that there is a need to study factors that may moderate the effects of these mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies on eating disorders.

 

So, Improve Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder with Mindfulness.

 

“Studies in mindfulness techniques has shown that participants practising mindfulness enjoyed significant reductions in weight and shape concern, dietary restraint, thin-ideal internalisation, eating disorder symptoms and psychosocial impairment.” – Janette Grant

 

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

 

Barney, J. L., Murray, H. B., Manasse, S. M., Dochat, C., & Juarascio, A. S. (2019). Mechanisms and moderators in mindfulness- and acceptance-based treatments for binge eating spectrum disorders: A systematic review. European eating disorders review : the journal of the Eating Disorders Association, 27(4), 352–380. doi:10.1002/erv.2673

 

Highlights:

  • Analyses of mechanisms of action and moderators of treatment outcome in MABTs for BN and BED are crucial for enhancing the efficiency of treatment development and dissemination.
  • Research to date supports improvements in theoretically consistent mechanisms of action from pre- to post-treatment when using MABTs for BN and BED, however conclusions relevant to whether these changes are occurring as theorized are limited by the use of substandard mediation methods, inconsistent measurement tools across studies, and infrequent use of mid-treatment assessment points.
  • Recommendations for enhancing future research on mechanisms of action and moderators of treatment outcome are discussed.

Abstract

Objective:

Increasing evidence suggests that mindfulness- and acceptance-based psychotherapies (MABTs) for bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge-eating disorder (BED) may be efficacious however little is known about their active treatment components or for whom they may be most effective.

Methods:

We systematically identified clinical trials testing MABTs for BN or BED through PsychINFO and Google Scholar. Publications were categorized according to analyses of mechanisms of action and moderators of treatment outcome.

Results:

Thirty-nine publications met inclusion criteria. Twenty-seven included analyses of therapeutic mechanisms and five examined moderators of treatment outcome. Changes were largely consistent with hypothesized mechanisms of MABTs, but substandard mediation analyses, inconsistent measurement tools, and infrequent use of mid-treatment assessment points limited our ability to make strong inferences.

Discussion:

Analyses of mechanisms of action and moderators of outcome in MABTs for BN and BED appear promising but use of more sophisticated statistical analyses and adequate replication are necessary.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6570825/

 

Mindfulness Therapies May Be Cost-Effective for the Treatment of Mental Illness

Mindfulness Therapies May Be Cost-Effective for the Treatment of Mental Illness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“[Mindfulness] is a cost-saving alternative to treatment as usual over the trial duration from both a healthcare and a societal perspective for patients with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety or stress and adjustment disorders.” – Sanjib Saha

 

There has developed a large volume of research findings supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of mental illnesses. Effectiveness has been documented for a wide variety of psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, stress responses, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, addictions, and major mental illnesses. But there is little understanding of the cost-effectiveness of these mindfulness trainings. So, it is important take a serious look at the costs of implementing these therapies in comparison to the healthcare savings produced and/or the costs of other treatments of similar effectiveness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Are acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions ‘value for money’? Evidence from a systematic literature review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6588093/), Duarte and colleagues review and summarize the published studies of the cost-effectiveness of acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions. The following acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions were identified:  Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) , Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT),  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness‐based relapse prevention (MBRP), and other mindfulness meditation and mindfulness training. They identified 10 published studies.

 

They reported that the published studies found mixed results depending on the type of economic analysis and the comparator condition. In general, they report that acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions are mildly cost-effective for the treatment of depression, emotional unstable personality disorder, and general mental health conditions. It is clear, however, that this issue needs to be further studied.

 

In an age of high healthcare costs, it is important to perform economic analyses of treatments. Before widespread implementation of a treatment it is important to know that the costs of implementing the treatments are less than the healthcare savings produced. Various acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions can be expensive to implement and the savings produced hard to evaluate. So, the analysis has produced ambiguous results. One way to improve the cost-effectiveness of acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions is to implement the therapies online or with smartphone technologies. This markedly reduces the costs while maintaining effectiveness.

 

So, mindfulness therapies may be cost-effective for the treatment of mental illness.

 

“MBSR reduced costs to society by $724 per year in comparison to usual care, and reduced healthcare costs to payers by $982; it also increased participants’ quality-adjusted life years.” – Patricia Herman

 

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

 

Duarte, R., Lloyd, A., Kotas, E., Andronis, L., & White, R. (2019). Are acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions ‘value for money’? Evidence from a systematic literature review. The British journal of clinical psychology, 58(2), 187–210. doi:10.1111/bjc.12208

 

Abstract

Objectives

Acceptance and mindfulness‐based interventions (A/MBIs) are recommended for people with mental health conditions. Although there is a growing evidence base supporting the effectiveness of different A/MBIs for mental health conditions, the economic case for these interventions has not been fully explored. The aim of this systematic review was to identify and appraise all available economic evidence of A/MBIs for the management of mental health conditions.

Methods

Eight electronic bibliographic databases (MEDLINE, MEDLINE In‐Process & Other Non‐Indexed Citations, EMBASE, Web of Science, NHS Economic Evaluation Database (EED), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), Health Technology Assessment (HTA) database, and EconLit) were searched for relevant economic evaluations published from each database’s inception date until November 2017. Study selection, quality assessment, and data extraction were carried out according to published guidelines.

Results

Ten relevant economic evaluations presented in 11 papers were identified. Seven of the included studies were full economic evaluations (i.e., costs and effects assessed), and three studies were partial economic evaluations (i.e., only costs were considered in the analysis). The A/MBIs that had been subjected to economic evaluation were acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR). In terms of clinical presentations, the evaluation of cost‐effectiveness of A/MBIs has been more focused on depression and emotional unstable personality disorder with three and four economic evaluations, respectively. Three out of seven full economic evaluations observed that A/MBIs were cost‐effective for the management of mental health conditions. Nevertheless, the heterogeneity of included populations, interventions, and economic evaluation study types limits the extent to which firm conclusions can currently be made.

Conclusion

This first substantive review of economic evaluations of A/MBIs indicates that more research is needed before firm conclusions can be reached on the cost‐effectiveness of A/MBIs for mental health conditions.

Practitioner points

The findings of the review provide information that may be relevant to mental health service commissioners and decision‐makers as all economic evidence available on acceptance and mindfulness‐based interventions for mental health conditions is summarized.

Evidence relating to the cost‐effectiveness and cost‐saving potential of acceptance and mindfulness‐based interventions is focused mainly on depression and emotional unstable personality disorder to date.

Heterogeneity in the specific forms of acceptance and mindfulness‐based interventions may limit generalizability of the findings.

The number of health economic evaluations relating to acceptance and mindfulness‐based interventions remains relatively small. Further research in this area is required.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6588093/

 

Improve PTSD Symptoms Related to Childhood Sexual Abuse with Mindfulness

Improve PTSD Symptoms Related to Childhood Sexual Abuse with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

DBT-PTSD significantly reduced the women’s PTSD symptoms, including depression and anxiety. In addition, the women’s PTSD symptoms were still improving six weeks after they completed the treatment, suggesting that they may have learned skills during the study that helped them continue to recover from PTSD after the treatment ended.” – Matthew Tull

 

Childhood sexual abuse is a horrific crime. The trauma created in the victim changes them forever. It changes the trusting innocence of childhood to a confused, guilt ridden, frightening, and traumatized existence. It not only produces short-term trauma which includes both psychological and physical injury, it has long-term consequences. It damages the victim’s self-esteem and creates difficulties entering into intimate relationship in adulthood. It can create post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) complete with painful flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Victims often experience depression and sometimes become suicidal. It is a heinous crime that haunts the victims for the rest of their lives.

 

Unfortunately, childhood sexual abuse is shockingly common. It is estimated that 20% of girls and 10% of boys have experienced childhood sexual abuse and half of these were forcefully assaulted. Children between the ages of 7 and 13 are the most vulnerable but abuse is also prevalent in adolescence with 16% of children between 14 to 17 having been sexually victimized. Compounding the problem disclosure of sexual abuse is often delayed; children often avoid telling because they are either afraid of a negative reaction from their parents or of being harmed by the abuser. As such, they often delay disclosure until adulthood. This makes it unlikely that they’ll seek help and instead suffer in silence.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in treating victims of trauma and PTSD.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) focuses on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. So, it would make sense to explore the effectiveness of DBT for the treatment of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dialectical behaviour therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood sexual abuse: a pilot study in an outpatient treatment setting.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774406/ ), Steil and colleagues recruited adult healthy women who had experienced childhood sexual abuse and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They treated them with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in a group for 90 minutes, once a week for 24 weeks. They were measured before and after treatment and 6 weeks later for frequency and intensity of PTSD symptoms, personality disorders, borderline symptoms, depression, and dissociative symptoms.

 

They found that the average duration of the PTSD symptoms prior to treatment was 14.5 years. 81% of the patients completed treatment. Following treatment, the women had significant reductions in PTSD symptoms including fewer intrusions, less avoidances, and hyperarousal episodes with large effect sizes. Treatment also produced large significant reductions in borderline symptoms, depression, and dissociative symptoms. These effects were still present and significant at the 6-week follow-up measurement.

 

The results suggest that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a safe, lasting, and effective treatment for PTSD symptoms resulting from childhood sexual abuse. But this was a pilot study without a control group. It relied upon before and after treatment comparisons. As such, there are many potential confounding factors. But the results are so positive and beneficial that a large randomized controlled clinical trial is warranted.

 

So, improve PTSD symptoms related to childhood sexual abuse with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness has been shown to be an effective stress reduction practices in general, but there may be other ways it works for people with PTSD as well. Recent research suggests that mindfulness may help to mitigate the relationship between maladaptive thinking and posttraumatic distress.” – Matthew Tull

 

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

 

Regina Steil, Clara Dittmann, Meike Müller-Engelmann, Anne Dyer, Anne-Marie Maasch, Kathlen Priebe. Dialectical behaviour therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood sexual abuse: a pilot study in an outpatient treatment setting. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2018; 9(1): 1423832. Published online 2018 Jan 19. doi: 10.1080/20008198.2018.1423832

 

ABSTRACT

Background: Dialectical behaviour therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (DBT-PTSD), which is tailored to treat adults with PTSD and co-occurring emotion regulation difficulties, has already demonstrated its efficacy, acceptance and safety in an inpatient treatment setting. It combines elements of DBT with trauma-focused cognitive behavioural interventions.

Objective: To investigate the feasibility, acceptance and safety of DBT-PTSD in an outpatient treatment setting by therapists who were novice to the treatment, we treated 21 female patients suffering from PTSD following childhood sexual abuse (CSA) plus difficulties in emotion regulation in an uncontrolled clinical trial.

Method: The Clinician Administered PTSD Symptom Scale (CAPS), the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), the Borderline Section of the International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE) and the Borderline Symptom List (BSL-23) were used as primary outcomes. For secondary outcomes, depression and dissociation were assessed. Assessments were administered at pretreatment, post-treatment and six-week follow-up.

Results: Improvement was significant for PTSD as well as for borderline personality symptomatology, with large pretreatment to follow-up effect sizes for completers based on the CAPS (Cohens d = 1.30), DTS (d = 1.50), IPDE (d = 1.60) and BSL-23 (d = 1.20).

Conclusion: The outcome suggests that outpatient DBT-PTSD can safely be used to reduce PTSD symptoms and comorbid psychopathology in adults who have experienced CSA.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774406/

 

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/