MBCT combines techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises to help patients realign thoughts and feelings.
The study involved 424 participants who were already taking maintenance antidepressants and had experienced three or more prior major depressive episodes.
Half the group continued drug therapy for two years, while the other half was assigned mindfulness treatments for one year, including group sessions and follow-up sessions. The MBCT group also received support to taper or discontinue their medication use.
The results were hopeful: During the study’s two-year period, relapse rates of the groups were similar, with the mindfulness group having a slight edge (44 percent versus 47 percent for those on the drugs). Researchers further noted that MBCT “might confer the most benefit to patients at greatest risk of relapse” and provided significant protection against relapse in patients with increased risk due to a history of childhood abuse.