Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as anti-depressants in helping prevent people with chronic depression from relapsing, scientists said on Tuesday.
Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting more than 350 million people worldwide. It is ranked by the World Health Organisation as the leading cause of disability globally.
Treatment usually involves either medication, some form of psychotherapy or a combination of both. Yet many patients fail to get better and suffer recurring bouts of illness.
MBCT was developed to help such people by teaching them skills to recognise and respond constructively to thoughts and feelings associated with relapse, aiming to prevent a downward spiral into depression.
In the first large study to compare MBCT and anti-depressants, researchers found little difference in outcomes.