Researchers are studying whether psychological treatments can prevent relapse after patients go off antidepressant medication, reports the Wall Street Journal, noting that “SSRIs have long been dogged by data that indicates that they are only slightly more effective than placebos: People with depression tend to get better on both drugs and placebo.” The article notes research in the Lancet that shows treatment with Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is as effective as maintenance on medication.
More from the Wall Street Journal:
“In a study published in the Lancet in April, 2015, researchers studied 424 adults with three or more episodes of depression. Half continued on therapeutic doses of medication, while half received eight to 12 sessions of mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy while being coached to slowly come off the drugs completely or reduce their dosage. The therapy included mindfulness meditation and strategies to recognize and reframe depressive thoughts in more positive ways.
“During the following two years, both groups had similar relapse rates: 44% of those in the therapy group and 47% in the continuing medication group relapsed. About 71% of participants in the therapy group were able to discontinue their antidepressants completely.”
“Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence (PREVENT): a randomised controlled trial.“