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The Merits of Group Therapy in Beating Depression

Monday, December 1st, 2008 The Merits of Group Therapy in Beating Depression

UK scientists are claiming that group-taught meditation is an effective method of stopping patients relapse back into their condition. This more specifically is relevant in that there is no drug treatment.

Moreover it has also been suggested that in identifying the advantages of “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” (MBCT) it is also cheaper for the NHS.

There is a need now to evaluate the research and it’s effectiveness. According to the BBC Report (01 12 08) a trial consisting of 123 patients identified that similar rates of relapse were apparent when observing both group therapy and those taking medication. The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

With reference to a earlier BBC report by Jane Dreaper (08 11 08) Alan Johnson, announced that £170m would be spent on talking therapies in England.

Notwithstanding, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said the evidence supported its use ahead of antidepressants in mild to moderate cases.

This argument has been supported by today’s report. More significantly, this is the first time, according to its authors, that a group therapy has been shown as an alternative to a prescription.

This study was funded by the Medical Research Council in 2002 found MBCT to be more effective than medication in improving patients’ quality of life.

The methods of treatment are based around the teachings of Buddhism. The concept being to help patients cope with and understand their depression. This is a wholly holistic approach.

Some examples are always relevant to achieve levels of understanding and evaluation.

Di Cowan 53, has suffered long term depression. She stated “It’s helped me immensely - it’s given me the ability to come up against something that would have previously thrown me, think it through, come up with a solution and then move on.

“My view of the world has changed and I look at life in a new light.”

What appears to have happened in this individual case is that thought processes have been retrained and other options explored. This lady admits to the benefits and in reality she should be the voice for other sufferers from the point of view that no other method of treatment worked for her.

For Rita Edgar-Dimmack also 51. She sought help after twenty years in an abusive marriage. She says this type of therapy looks at difficulties in the here and now. It includes homework and aims to build up practical skills.

Professor Willem Kuyken of the Mood Disorders Centre at the University of Exeter. is an advocate of the treatment. He says “Our results suggest MBCT may be a viable alternative for some of the 3.5 million people in the UK known to be suffering from this debilitating condition.

“I think we have the basis for offering patients and GPs an alternative to long-term antidepressant medication.”

Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of mental health charity SANE, would like to see further research to enable the use of both ancient and traditional techniques in conquering depression.

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