Mindfulness is Associated with Less Relapse and Recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder

Mindfulness is Associated with Less Relapse and Recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

 

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.

 

Relapsing into depression 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 to study the factors that lead to relapse and recurrence. 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 fail. So, it makes sense to study the relationship of mindfulness with relapse and recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Factors associated with relapse and recurrence of major depressive disorder in patients starting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9298927/ ) de Klerk-Sluis and colleagues studied patients who were in remission for Major Depressive Disorder and the factors that predicted relapse and recurrence.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the risk of relapse and recurrence. They also found that the greater the ability of mild emotions to reactivate negative thinking patterns (cognitive reactivity) the greater the likelihood of relapse and recurrence. Finally, they found that rumination was associated with relapse and recurrence in patients who were not taking antidepressant drugs but not in patients on the drugs.

 

It appears that thought processes have large effects on relapse and recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder. But mindful thinking is helpful in preventing relapse. This suggests that mindfulness training should be recommended for patients in remission from Major Depressive Disorder. Indeed, mindfulness training has been shown to reduce the likelihood of relapse.

 

But if you’ve fought depression or know somebody who has, you know that no amount of money can fix it. No amount of fame. No logic. The continuing stigma around suicide and mental illness tells me that not enough people truly understand it. I don’t really blame them—its impossible unless you’ve lived it.”-  David Chang

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

de Klerk-Sluis JM, Huijbers MJ, Löcke S, Spijker J, Spinhoven P, Speckens AEM, Ruhe HG. Factors associated with relapse and recurrence of major depressive disorder in patients starting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Depress Anxiety. 2022 Feb;39(2):113-122. doi: 10.1002/da.23220. Epub 2021 Nov 9. PMID: 34752681; PMCID: PMC9298927.

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is effective for relapse prevention in major depressive disorder (MDD). It reduces cognitive reactivity (CR) and rumination, and enhances self‐compassion and mindfulness. Although rumination and mindfulness after MBCT are associated with relapse, the association of CR, rumination, self‐compassion, and mindfulness with relapse before initiation of MBCT has never been investigated.

Methods

Data were drawn from two randomized controlled trials, including a total of 282 remitted MDD participants (≥3 depressive episodes) who had been using maintenance antidepressant medication (mADM) for at least 6 months before baseline. All participants were offered MBCT while either their mADM was maintained or discontinued after MBCT. CR, rumination, self‐compassion, and mindfulness were assessed at baseline by self‐rated questionnaires and were used in Cox proportional hazards regression models to investigate their association with relapse.

Results

CR and mindfulness were associated with relapse, independent of residual symptoms, previous depressive episodes, and mADM‐use. Higher CR and lower mindfulness increased the risk of relapse. Self‐compassion was not associated with relapse. For rumination, a significant interaction with mADM‐use was found. Rumination was associated with relapse in patients who discontinued their mADM, while this effect was absent if patients continued mADM.

Conclusions

These results show that CR, rumination, and mindfulness are associated with relapse in remitted MDD‐patients before initiation of MBCT, independent of residual symptoms and previous depressive episodes. This information could improve decisions in treatment planning in remitted individuals with a history of depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9298927/

 

Mindfulness Changes Neural Activity and Improves Major Depressive Disorder

Mindfulness Changes Neural Activity and Improves Major Depressive Disorder

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“People at risk for depression are dealing with a lot of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves and this can easily slide into a depressive relapse. . . MBCT helps them to recognize that’s happening, engage with it in a different way and respond to it with equanimity and compassion.” – Willem Kuyken

 

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. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

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 has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.

 

The most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. MBCT has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant drugs in relieving the symptoms of depression and preventing depression reoccurrence and relapse. In addition, it appears to be effective as either a supplement to or a replacement for these drugs. It is not known how MBCT produces its effects on major depression.

 

One way to observe the effects of MBCT on neural activity is to measure changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG), the rhythmic electrical activity that can be recorded from the scalp. The recorded activity can be separated into frequency bands. Delta activity consists of oscillations in the 0.5-3 cycles per second band. Theta activity in the EEG consists of oscillations in the 4-8 cycles per second band. Alpha activity consists of oscillations in the 8-12 cycles per second band. Beta activity consists of oscillations in the 15-25 cycles per second band while Gamma activity occurs in the 35-45 cycles per second band. Changes in these brain activities can be compared during different depths of meditation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Recurrent MDD Patients With Residual Symptoms: Alterations in Resting-State Theta Oscillation Dynamics Associated With Changes in Depression and Rumination.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8936084/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited patients with major depressive disorder being treated with drugs but with residual symptoms. They were provided with an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Before and after training they were measured for mindfulness, depression, and rumination and had their resting state electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded.

 

After completing Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there were significant reductions in depression which produced an 88% remission rate. There were also significant increases in mindfulness and reductions in brooding rumination. In addition, there was a significant increase in the theta rhythm power in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Finally, the greater the increase in theta power the greater the reductions in depression and rumination.

 

Hence, they found that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is effective in treating depression even in patients under treatment with drugs. They also found that these improvements were related to increased theta power in the electroencephalogram (EEG). So, MBCT appears to change brain activity along with depression. The changes in the neural activity may be a mechanism by which MBCT helps improve depression symptoms.

 

mindfulness is added to the standard depression treatment protocols, relapse rates decline.” – Sara Altshul

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, J., Ren, F., Gao, B., & Yu, X. (2022). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Recurrent MDD Patients With Residual Symptoms: Alterations in Resting-State Theta Oscillation Dynamics Associated With Changes in Depression and Rumination. Frontiers in psychiatry, 13, 818298. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.818298

 

Abstract

Many patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) suffer from residual symptoms. Rumination is a specific known risk factor for the onset, severity, prolongation, and relapse of MDD. This study aimed to examine the efficacy and EEG substrates of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in alleviating depression and rumination in an MDD population with residual symptoms. We recruited 26 recurrent MDD individuals who had residual symptoms with their current antidepressants to participate in the 8-week MBCT intervention. We evaluated the efficacy and changes in the dynamics of resting-state theta rhythm after the intervention, as well as the associations between theta alterations and improvements in depression and rumination. The participants showed reduced depression, enhanced adaptive reflective rumination, and increased theta power and phase synchronization after MBCT. The increased theta-band phase synchronizations between the right occipital regions and the right prefrontal, central, and parietal regions were associated with reduced depression, while the increase in theta power in the left parietal region was associated with improvements in reflective rumination. MBCT could alleviate depression and enhance adaptive, reflective rumination in recurrent MDD individuals with residual symptoms through the modulation of theta dynamics in specific brain regions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8936084/

 

Reduce Stress and Increase Well-Being in People with Schizophrenia with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Increase Well-Being in People with Schizophrenia with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In schizophrenic patients, mindfulness intervention leads to better psychosocial functioning, improved positive emotions, and reduced negative symptoms.” – Jia‐Ling Sheng

 

Schizophrenia is the most common form of psychosis. Its effects about 1% of the population worldwide. It appears to be highly heritable and involves changes in the brain. It is characterized by both positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations; seeing and, in some cases, feeling, smelling or tasting things that aren’t there, or delusions; unshakable beliefs that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue. Negative symptoms include a reduced ability to function normally, neglect of personal hygiene, lack of emotion, blank facial expressions, speaking in a monotone, loss of interest in everyday activities, social withdrawal, an inability to experience pleasure, and a lack of insight into their symptoms. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually do not appear until late adolescence or early adulthood.

 

Schizophrenia is very difficult to treat with psychotherapy and is usually treated with antipsychotic drugs. These drugs, however, are not always effective, sometimes lose effectiveness, and can have some difficult side effects. Mindfulness training has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of mental health problems, including psychosis. Mindfulness has also been shown to associated with lower symptom severity of schizophrenia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Affect, and Wellbeing among People with Schizophrenia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8617870/ ) Kim and colleagues recruited patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at two centers. The participants from one center constituted the no-treatment control condition while those from the other received 8-weekly 60 minute sessions of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The participants were measured before and after the treatment and 6 weeks later for perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, well-being, and heart rate variability.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly lower perceived stress and negative emotions and significantly higher heart rate variability. Increases in heart rate variability indicates a reduction in physiological activation, an increase in parasympathetic relaxation, providing a physiological indicator of reduced stress. These changes remained significant at the 6 week follow up.

 

These findings demonstrate that mindfulness training with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is effective in reducing stress and negative emotions in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Mindfulness training has been shown, in the past with a variety of groups to reduce stress, negative emotions, and heart rate variability. The present findings demonstrate that mindfulness training also improves the psychological well-being in patients with a major mental illness. This suggests that MBSR should be incorporated into the treatment program for patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

 

So, reduce stress and increase well-being in people with schizophrenia with mindfulness.

 

meditation is the best and successful treatment for Schizophrenia without any side-effects, caused by the very strong medications.” – Ruchi Singhal

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kim, A. S., Jang, M. H., & Sun, M. J. (2021). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Affect, and Wellbeing among People with Schizophrenia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(22), 11871. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211871

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based stress reduction programs have been found to be effective in reducing the stress response and improving the psychological wellbeing of various populations. We aimed to confirm the effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program on perceived stress, heart rate variability, positive and negative affect, and subjective wellbeing of community-dwelling people with schizophrenia. The participants in this study were 26 people with schizophrenia (experimental group: 14, control group: 12) enrolled in two community mental health centers located in Gyeonggi Province in South Korea. In the experimental group, the mindfulness-based stress reduction program was applied once a week for 60 min over 8 weeks. The experimental group showed a significantly greater decrease in perceived stress and negative affect, as well as significantly greater improvement in heart rate variability than the control group. The mindfulness-based stress reduction program was an effective nursing intervention to reduce stress and negative affect in people with schizophrenia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8617870/

 

Improve Neuropsychological Disorders with Yoga

Improve Neuropsychological Disorders with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga might be considered as an effective adjuvant for the patients with various neurological disorders including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, headache, myelopathy, neuropathies.” – A.Mooventhan

 

Mindfulness training and yoga practices have been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. They have 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. There has accumulated a large amount of research on the effectiveness of yoga practice for the treatment of a variety of physical and mental issues. Hence, it would be useful to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Therapeutic role of yoga in neuropsychological disorders.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8546763/ ) Nourollahimoghadam and colleagues review and summarize the published research regarding the effectiveness of yoga practice for the treatment of a variety of neuropsychological disorders.

 

They report that the published research found that yoga practice produced significant improvements in physical illnesses including migraine headaches, Alzheimer’s Disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and neuropathy. Yoga practice also produced significant improvements in psychological well-being including anxiety, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, somatoform disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and burnout. They further report that yoga may produce its beneficial effects by altering the chemistry, electrical activity, structures, and connectivity within the brain.

 

Hence Yoga practice appears to have a myriad of positive physical and psychological benefits. The authors, however, point to weaknesses in the research including small sample sizes, short-term follow-up, confounding variables, and lack of appropriate controls. So, more and better controlled studies are needed to verify the benefits of yoga practice. Hence, the present state of knowledge supports the engagement in yoga practice to advance the physical and mental well-being of both ill and healthy individuals.

 

So, improve neuropsychological disorders with yoga.

 

Yoga can be a helpful practice of self-care for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions (such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Lyme’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease).” – Mary Hilliker

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Nourollahimoghadam, E., Gorji, S., Gorji, A., & Khaleghi Ghadiri, M. (2021). Therapeutic role of yoga in neuropsychological disorders. World journal of psychiatry, 11(10), 754–773. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v11.i10.754

 

Abstract

Yoga is considered a widely-used approach for health conservation and can be adopted as a treatment modality for a plethora of medical conditions, including neurological and psychological disorders. Hence, we reviewed relevant articles entailing various neurological and psychological disorders and gathered data on how yoga exerts positive impacts on patients with a diverse range of disorders, including its modulatory effects on brain bioelectrical activities, neurotransmitters, and synaptic plasticity. The role of yoga practice as an element of the treatment of several neuropsychological diseases was evaluated based on these findings.

Core Tip: A multitude of beneficial effects of yoga practice and the underlying mechanisms of action have been reported and point out its role as an influential element in the integrative therapy of various neuropsychological disorders. In the planning of further investigations, studies should be designed to achieve more accuracy and precision in the heterogeneous field of yoga practices and potential fields of application.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8546763/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Improved Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Mindfulness is Associated with Improved Symptoms of Schizophrenia

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“schizophrenia patients may benefit from mindfulness-based interventions because they . . . demonstrate strong relationships between mindfulness and psychological constructs related to adaptive functioning.” – Naomi T. Tabak

 

Schizophrenia is the most common form of psychosis. Its effects about 1% of the population worldwide. It appears to be highly heritable and involves changes in the brain. It is characterized by both positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations; seeing and, in some cases, feeling, smelling or tasting things that aren’t there, or delusions; unshakable beliefs that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue. Negative symptoms include a reduced ability to function normally, neglect of personal hygiene, lack of emotion, blank facial expressions, speaking in a monotone, loss of interest in everyday activities, social withdrawal, an inability to experience pleasure, and a lack of insight into their symptoms. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually do not appear until late adolescence or early adulthood.

 

Schizophrenia is very difficult to treat with psychotherapy and is usually treated with antipsychotic drugs. These drugs, however, are not always effective, sometimes lose effectiveness, and can have some difficult side effects. Mindfulness training has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of mental health problems, including psychosis. Mindfulness has also been shown to associated with lower symptom severity of schizophrenia. So, it makes sense to study the relationships of mindfulness with the symptoms of schizophrenia.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Relationship Between Mindfulness, Depression, Anxiety, and Quality of Life in Individuals With Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.708808/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1721400_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210909_arts_A ) Bergmann and colleagues recruited patients who were diagnosed with schizophrenia and measured them for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and quality of life.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress and the higher the levels of quality of life. In addition, they found that the higher the levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress the lower the levels of quality of life. A mediation analysis found that mindfulness was positively related to quality of life directly and also indirectly by being associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression that were in turn associated with higher quality of life.

 

This study is correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But, previous controlled research has demonstrated the mindfulness training produces lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher levels of quality of life. So the present results are likely due to causal effects of mindfulness. Hence, being mindful improves quality of life and decreases anxiety and depression which then also improve quality of life. These are similar findings to those seen in healthy individuals. So, the present findings suggest that mindfulness affects people with schizophrenia in a similar fashion. They further suggest that mindfulness training might improve the psychological health and well-being of patients with schizophrenia.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with improved symptoms of schizophrenia.

 

mindfulness-based interventions for psychotic symptoms can afford people a greater acceptance and insight into their experiences. They can also reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression which often accompany, and may exacerbate, psychotic disorders.” – Adrianna Mendrek

 

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

 

Bergmann N, Hahn E, Hahne I, Zierhut M, Ta TMT, Bajbouj M, Pijnenborg GHM and Böge K (2021) The Relationship Between Mindfulness, Depression, Anxiety, and Quality of Life in Individuals With Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders. Front. Psychol. 12:708808. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.708808

 

Background: Schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) are frequently accompanied by comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as impaired quality of life (QoL). A growing body of evidence has demonstrated the relevance of mindfulness for SSD in recent years. The study examined the association between mindfulness, depression, anxiety, and QoL.

Materials and Methods: A total of 83 participants with SSD were recruited at the in- and outpatient psychiatric hospital care. Participants completed the Southampton Mindfulness Questionnaire, Comprehensive Inventory for Mindful Experiences, and Freiburger Mindfulness Inventory, the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale to assess depression and anxiety, and the WHO-QoL Questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses examined the relationship between mindfulness and QoL and the mediating role of depression and anxiety.

Results: Mindfulness had a significant statistical positive effect on QoL domains physical health, psychological, and environmental QoL in patients with SSD. Depression was identified as a significant mediator of this relationship.

Conclusion: This study provides novel insight into mindfulness’ mechanisms and paves the way for a process-oriented approach to treat SSD. The results provide first evidence for the process-based value of mindfulness for SSD; future studies can focus on the role of mindfulness for central therapeutic processes of change by employing longitudinal designs.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.708808/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1721400_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210909_arts_A

 

Hallucinogenic Drugs may Effectively Treat Mental Illness

Hallucinogenic Drugs may Effectively Treat Mental Illness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Combined with psychotherapy, some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” – Cristina L. Magalhaes

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression. The research on the effectiveness of these drugs on mood and mental illness is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880300/ ) De Gregorio and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the brain mechanisms of hallucinogenic drug actions and their effectiveness as treatments for mental illness.

 

They report that the different drugs have very different effects on the nervous system although most interact with serotonin receptors. The nervous systems effects appear to alter sensory integration and associations with these sensations resulting in altered experiences.

 

They also report that the published research suggests that psilocybin may be useful in treating anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), LSD may relieve anxiety and depression, that Ketamine may improve major depressive disorder, and MDMA (Ecstasy) may help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Hence, psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs may be effective in treating mental illness. It needs to be kept in mind that these drugs have powerful effects so they must be administered in controlled environments by trained practitioners.

 

So, hallucinogenic drugs may effectively treat mental illness.

 

Most powerful substances that we know of, that have powerful effects on the central nervous system, are like any powerful tool, They can have dangerous effects, or beneficial effects, if judiciously used in a context where the dangers are known and mechanisms are in place to address them.” – Matthew Johnson

 

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

 

De Gregorio, D., Aguilar-Valles, A., Preller, K. H., Heifets, B. D., Hibicke, M., Mitchell, J., & Gobbi, G. (2021). Hallucinogens in Mental Health: Preclinical and Clinical Studies on LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, and Ketamine. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 41(5), 891–900. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1659-20.2020

 

Abstract

A revamped interest in the study of hallucinogens has recently emerged, especially with regard to their potential application in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. In the last decade, a plethora of preclinical and clinical studies have confirmed the efficacy of ketamine in the treatment of depression. More recently, emerging evidence has pointed out the potential therapeutic properties of psilocybin and LSD, as well as their ability to modulate functional brain connectivity. Moreover, MDMA, a compound belonging to the family of entactogens, has been demonstrated to be useful to treat post-traumatic stress disorders. In this review, the pharmacology of hallucinogenic compounds is summarized by underscoring the differences between psychedelic and nonpsychedelic hallucinogens as well as entactogens, and their behavioral effects in both animals and humans are described. Together, these data substantiate the potentials of these compounds in treating mental diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880300/

 

Reduce Stigma and Perceived Devaluation in Patients with Schizophrenia with Mindfulness

Reduce Stigma and Perceived Devaluation in Patients with Schizophrenia with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Stigma is the number one reason people do not seek help; therefore, efforts to reduce stigma are crucial to increasing people’s help-seeking behaviors.” – Sami Boomgarden

 

Stigma is a view that a distinguishing characteristic makes the individual less acceptable to others. This can lead to discrimination where stigmatized people are treated negatively either directly with ugly remarks such as “crazy” or “weird” or indirectly by being avoided or marginalized by others. This can produce fewer work opportunities, harassment, bullying, problems with insurance, and loneliness. The social isolation can even lead to early mortality. Stigma can lead to low self-esteem and self-stigmatization in which the individual adopts those negative stereotypes and as a result there is a loss of self-efficacy This leads to the individual ceasing trying to make things better, thinking “why try?”

 

Mindfulness promotes non-judgmental awareness in which the individual perceives things just as they are without labelling or making value judgements about them. It also promotes the ability to adaptively cope with emotions and reduces worry and rumination. These can be useful in overcoming stigmas and their effects, especially self-stigmas. So, mindfulness may buffer the individual from the effects of stigma and self-stigmatization in severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) involves the combination of mindfulness training and cognitive behavioral therapy. It contains sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Hence, MBCT may be particularly effective in reducing stigma in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on Stigma in Female Patients With Schizophrenia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8342917/ ) Tang and colleagues recruited patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and randomly assigned them to either receive 8 weeks of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) or to a treatment as usual control condition. They were measured before and after treatment for mindfulness, insight and treatment attitudes, and stigma including subscales measuring perceived devaluation-discrimination, stigma-coping orientation, and stigma-related feeling.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the participants who received Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) had significantly higher levels of mindfulness and insight and treatment attitudes, and significantly lower levels of stigma, including perceived devaluation-discrimination and stigma-coping orientation. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness after treatment the lower the levels of stigma and the higher the levels of insight and treatment attitudes.

 

Stigma involves “shame, evaluative thoughts, and fear of enacted stigma that results from individuals’ identification with a stigmatized group”. Stigma is an impediment to successful treatment of mental illnesses and improvement of social function. In fact, many patients high in stigma refuse treatment all together. The findings of the present study suggest that mindfulness training can help patients diagnosed with schizophrenia overcome stigma and as a result improve their attitudes toward treatment. As a result, mindfulness training may improve the patient’s prognosis and make successful treatment more likely.

 

So, reduce stigma and perceived devaluation in patients with schizophrenia with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness-based psychoeducation was effective in reducing stigma in patients with schizophrenia.” – Emine Yılmaz

 

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

 

Tang, Q., Yang, S., Liu, C., Li, L., Chen, X., Wu, F., & Huang, X. (2021). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on Stigma in Female Patients With Schizophrenia. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 694575. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.694575

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been increasingly recognized as effective in different mental illnesses, but these effects are limited in schizophrenia. For patients with schizophrenia, stigma is one of the most negative factors that affects treatment, rehabilitation and social function. This research aimed to determine the effects of MBCT on stigma in patients with schizophrenia. In total, 62 inpatients with schizophrenia were recruited and randomly assigned to the experimental group or control group. The experimental group received an 8-week MBCT intervention, and the control group were treated as usual. Link’s Stigma Scales (with three subscales, including perceived devaluation-discrimination (PDD), stigma-coping orientation, and stigma-related feeling), Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), and Insight and Treatment Attitudes Questionnaire (ITAQ) were used to collect data before and after intervention. After intervention, the post-test score of PDD, stigma-coping orientation, FFMQ, and ITAQ were significantly different between the experimental group and the control group. In the experimental group, the PDD and stigma-coping orientation scores significantly decreased, and FFMQ and ITAQ scores increased remarkably (P < 0.05). In addition, correlation analysis revealed a significant negative correlation between mindfulness and stigma. MBCT was effective in reducing stigma in patients with schizophrenia, which mainly manifested as changes in the patients’ perception of stigma as well as the withdrawal and avoidance caused by schizophrenia. Enhancing mindfulness will help reduce the stigma level. MBCT is worthy of promotion and application in patients with schizophrenia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8342917/

 

Mindfulness Improves Physical and Mental Well-Being

Mindfulness Improves Physical and Mental Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“scientists have found that practicing mindfulness is associated with changes in the structure and function of the brain as well as changes in our body’s response to stress, suggesting that this practice has important impacts on our physical and emotional health.” –  University of Minnesota

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mentalphysical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children, to adolescents, to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalitiesrace, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Research on mindfulness effects on mental and physical health has exploded over the last few decades. So, it makes sense to pause and examine what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based interventions: an overall review” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8083197/ )  Zhang and colleagues reviewed and summarized the randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of the effects of mindfulness-based practices on mental and physical health.

 

They report that the published research studies and meta-analyses found that mindfulness-based practices produced significant improvements in mental health including anxiety, depression, anger, prosocial behavior, loneliness, physiological and psychological indicators of stress, insomnia, eating disorders, addictions, psychoses, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. They also report that mindfulness-based practices produced significant improvements in physical health including pain, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), aggression, and violence.

 

In addition, mindfulness-based practices produced safe, cost-effective improvements in professional and healthcare settings, in schools, and in the workplace. Further they report that mindfulness-based practices produced significant changes in the structure and activity of the nervous system, improvements in immune functioning and physiological markers of stress.

 

The review of the published research has provided a compelling case for the utilization of mindfulness-based practices for a myriad of psychological and physical problems in humans of all ages with and without disease. The range and depth of effects are unprecedented making a strong case for the routine training in mindfulness for the improvement of their well-being.

 

So, mindfulness improves physical and mental well-being.

 

engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

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

 

Zhang, D., Lee, E., Mak, E., Ho, C. Y., & Wong, S. (2021). Mindfulness-based interventions: an overall review. British medical bulletin, ldab005. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldab005

 

Abstract

Introduction

This is an overall review on mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs).

Sources of data

We identified studies in PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AMED, Web of Science and Google Scholar using keywords including ‘mindfulness’, ‘meditation’, and ‘review’, ‘meta-analysis’ or their variations.

Areas of agreement

MBIs are effective for improving many biopsychosocial conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, addiction, psychosis, pain, hypertension, weight control, cancer-related symptoms and prosocial behaviours. It is found to be beneficial in the healthcare settings, in schools and workplace but further research is warranted to look into its efficacy on different problems. MBIs are relatively safe, but ethical aspects should be considered. Mechanisms are suggested in both empirical and neurophysiological findings. Cost-effectiveness is found in treating some health conditions.

Areas of controversy

Inconclusive or only preliminary evidence on the effects of MBIs on PTSD, ADHD, ASD, eating disorders, loneliness and physical symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory conditions. Furthermore, some beneficial effects are not confirmed in subgroup populations. Cost-effectiveness is yet to confirm for many health conditions and populations.

Growing points

Many mindfulness systematic reviews and meta-analyses indicate low quality of included studies, hence high-quality studies with adequate sample size and longer follow-up period are needed.

Areas timely for developing research

More research is needed on online mindfulness trainings and interventions to improve biopsychosocial health during the COVID-19 pandemic; Deeper understanding of the mechanisms of MBIs integrating both empirical and neurophysiological findings; Long-term compliance and effects of MBIs; and development of mindfulness plus (mindfulness+) or personalized mindfulness programs to elevate the effectiveness for different purposes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8083197/

Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being with Mindfulness Meditation-Based Interventions

Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being with Mindfulness Meditation-Based Interventions

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation is related to improved mental health across a variety of disorders, including different anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and chronic pain symptom reduction.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Over the last few decades, a vast amount of research has been published on the benefits of mindfulness practices on the mental and physical health of the practitioners. Many reviews, summarizations, and meta-analyses have been performed of these studies. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what these meta-analyses have found.

 

In today’s Research News article “The empirical status of mindfulness-based interventions: A systematic review of 44 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://centerhealthyminds.org/assets/files-publications/Goldberg-the-empirical-status.pdf ) Goldberg and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of previous meta-analyses of published randomized controlled studies on benefits of sustained meditation practices on mental and physical well-being. They identified 44 published meta-analyses, representing 336 randomized controlled trials, which included a total of 30,483 participants.

 

They report that the meta-analyses of published randomized controlled trials found that sustained mindfulness meditation practices in comparison to passive, no treatment, controls had a very wide range of beneficial effects across a wide range of participants from children to the elderly, over a variety of programs from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to mobile health, over a variety of psychological issues from anxiety to psychoses, and over a wide range of diseases from chronic pain to cancer. These effects were present immediately post treatment and at later follow-ups (an average of 7 months after treatment).

 

Comparison of these mindfulness meditation practices to active control conditions such as attentional controls to evidence-based treatments, resulted in reduced effect sizes and many were non-significant. Mindfulness meditation practices had significantly superior effects than active controls for adults, children, employees, and health care professionals/trainees but not for students. They were superior for psychiatric disorders, substance use, smoking, and depression but not for physical health conditions, pain, weight/eating-related conditions, cancer, or anxiety. They were superior for stress, and psychiatric symptoms but not for sleep, physical health symptoms, objective measures, or physiological measures.

 

These findings are essentially summaries of summaries and are based upon a wide variety of different researchers, methodologies, cultures, and time frames. Yet, the results are fairly consistent. In comparison to doing nothing, passive controls, mindfulness meditation practices are very beneficial for a wide range of physical and psychological issues over a wide range of ages. But these practices when compared to other types of treatments, are less effective and at times not superior. Nevertheless, this meta-analysis of meta-analyses paints a clear picture of the wide-ranging efficacy of mindfulness meditation practices for the relief of physical and psychological issues. These results verify the unprecedented depth and breadth of benefits of mindfulness meditation practices.

 

So, improve physical and mental well-being with mindfulness meditation-based interventions.

 

Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including: reduced stress, anxiety and depression, less negative thinking and distraction, and improved mood,” -Mayo Clinic

 

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

 

Goldberg, S. B., Riordan, K., Sun, S., & Davidson, R. J. (2021). The empirical status of mindfulness-based interventions: A systematic review of 44 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. Perspectives on Psychological Science 1–23, DOI: 10.1177/1745691620968771

 

Abstract

In response to questions regarding the scientific basis for mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), we evaluated their empirical status by systematically reviewing meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We searched six databases for effect sizes based on ≥4 trials that did not combine passive and active controls. Heterogeneity, moderators, tests of publication bias, risk of bias, and adverse effects were also extracted. Representative effect sizes based on the largest number of studies were identified across a wide range of populations, problems, interventions, comparisons, and outcomes (PICOS). A total of 160 effect sizes were reported in 44 meta-analyses (k=336 RCTs, N=30,483 participants). MBIs showed superiority to passive controls across most PICOS (ds=0.10-0.89). Effects were typically smaller and less often statistically significant when compared to active controls. MBIs were similar or superior to specific active controls and evidence-based treatments. Heterogeneity was typically moderate. Few consistent moderators were found. Results were generally robust to publication bias, although other important sources of bias were identified. Reporting of adverse effects was inconsistent. Statistical power may be lacking in meta-analyses, particularly for comparisons with active controls. As MBIs show promise across some PICOS, future RCTs and meta-analyses should build upon identified strengths and limitations of this literature.

https://centerhealthyminds.org/assets/files-publications/Goldberg-the-empirical-status.pdf

 

Spirituality is Associated with Improved Psychological Well-Being in Patients with Persistent Mental Illness

Spirituality is Associated with Improved Psychological Well-Being in Patients with Persistent Mental Illness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

No cure that fails to engage our spirit can make us well.” – Victor Frankl

 

Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life both in a transcendent sense and in a practical sense. What evidence is there that these claims are in fact true? The transcendent claims are untestable with the scientific method. But the practical claims are amenable to scientific analysis. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. But there is still a need to investigate the relationships of spirituality with psychological well-being in patients with persistent mental illness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Spirituality and Employment in Recovery from Severe and Persistent Mental Illness and Psychological Well-Being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827133/ ) Saiz and colleagues recruited adult patients with persistent mental illness who were in a program to prepare them for employment. The disorders included psychoses, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and mood disorders. The patients completed questionnaires measuring stage of recovery, hope, self-determination, psychological well-being, including self-acceptance, positive relationships, autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth and purpose in life subscales, employment, work motivation including of satisfaction, integration into the work environment, social acceptance, social performance, job skills, self-esteem, perception of family support and job assertiveness subscales, spiritual experiences and spiritual well-being.

 

They report that the higher the levels of spirituality and work motivation, the higher the levels of psychological well-being and recovery. When spirituality and work motivation were used together as predictors of recovery only spirituality was significantly related. Similarly, when spirituality and work motivation were used together as predictors of psychological well-being only spirituality was significantly related. Hence, when work motivation is considered, only spirituality is significantly related to psychological well-being and recovery.

 

These findings for patients with persistent mental illness make sense as spirituality has been found in the past with other groups to be associated with psychological well-being and better mental health. The findings, though, are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Only that spirituality is associated with to psychological well-being and recovery can be ascertained. But this association is potentially important and suggests that the promotion of spirituality may be beneficial for patients with persistent mental illness, helping them recover better and be psychologically healthier. This remains for future research.

 

So, spirituality is associated with improved psychological well-being in patients with persistent mental illness.

 

“many people with mental illness desire the incorporation of spirituality in their recovery process/treatment.” – Jan-Stella Metheany

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Saiz, J., Galilea, M., Molina, A. J., Salazar, M., Barsotti, T. J., Chopra, D., & Mills, P. J. (2021). Spirituality and Employment in Recovery from Severe and Persistent Mental Illness and Psychological Well-Being. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 57. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010057

 

Abstract

People diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) face multiple vulnerabilities, including when seeking employment. Among SPMI patients, studies show that a stronger sense of spirituality can help to reduce psychotic symptoms, increase social integration, reduce the risk of suicide attempts and promote adherence to psychiatric treatment. This study examined how the variables spirituality and employment affect the recovery process and psychological well-being of people with SPMI who attend employment recovery services. The sample consisted of 64 women and men diagnosed with an SPMI. The assessment instruments included the Recovery Assessment Scale, Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale, Work Motivation Questionnaire, Daily Spiritual Experience Scale, and Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-Sp12). Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to compare three different models for each dependent variable (recovery and psychological well-being). The findings showed that job skills predicted psychological well-being and recovery. When spiritual variables were included in the model, job skills dropped out and the dimension meaning/peace of the FACIT-Sp12 emerged as the only significant predictor variable. Integrating spirituality into recovery programs for people with SPMI may be a helpful complement to facilitate the recovery process and improve psychological well-being.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827133/