Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mindfulness may not be a magic solution for depression and anxiety

Mindfulness has been defined as the 'awareness that emerges through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment by moment'. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been used to treat a wide range of conditions including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, cancer, eating disorders and fibromyalgia. However, a review of fifteen studies into MBSR for depression and anxiety has found the evidence of effects for its benefits to be 'equivocal'. MBSR was better than no treatment at all but this could be due to the attention paid to people by and interaction with researchers. When compared to an 'active' control group MBSR 'did not show any effect on depression and anxiety' and 'the relation between practising mindfulness and changes in depression and anxiety' was 'equivocal'. The researchers did point out, however, that relatively few trials had been done on MBSR and that much more research was needed.

Toneatto, Tony and Nguyen, Linda - Does mindfulness meditation improve anxiety and mood symptoms ? A review of the controlled research Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2007; 52: 260-266

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