Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting more than 15 million adults each year. While many who suffer from depression find relief in standard treatments like antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, that’s not the case for many. Many people suffering depression symptoms must try multiple medications before they find relief, and as many as one-third fail to find relief at all with standard treatments.
If you suffer from treatment-resistant depression, ketamine infusion therapy can help relieve your symptoms. Ketamine therapy brings rapid relief of depression symptoms, and though the effects wear off eventually, successive treatments can help keep your depression at bay while you pursue other treatments known to be effective for depression. One of those treatments is psychotherapy. There’s also a huge body of evidence that suggests mindfulness meditation may be at least as effective as antidepressants for relieving depression symptoms — and without the side effects.
Researchers Find Ample Evidence for Meditation as a Depression Treatment
Meditation has been found to have a number of cognitive benefits, and may even cause beneficial changes in brain structure. According to a recent review of nearly 18,000 studies on the benefits of meditation for depression, mindfulness techniques can be just as beneficial as antidepressants in relieving depression symptoms.
A Johns Hopkins team led by Madhav Goyal, M.D., performed the review. Of the 18,000 studies they looked at, the researchers found 47 randomized clinical trials in which more than 3,500 study participants practiced mindfulness or mantra meditation or another depression treatment, like exercise. The researchers learned that one specific type of meditation, mindfulness meditation, brought about measurable improvement in depression symptoms. The effect size for mindfulness meditation on depression symptoms was 0.3, which is moderate, but is exactly commensurate with the normal effect size of antidepressants.
This means mindfulness meditation is as effective as antidepressants for treating depression. The researchers didn’t find a similar correlation for mantra meditation. However, research into the effects of mantra meditation for depression has been limited, so the researchers were reluctant to rule it out as a treatment.
In any case, mindfulness meditation carries no risk of side effects and is considerably cheaper than medication – practitioners don’t need any special equipment or extensive training to practice it.
The technique is simple. Patients with treatment-resistant depression could use ketamine infusion therapy to relieve depression symptoms long enough to begin experiencing some of the benefit of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation can begin improving mood in as little as two weeks, much faster than prescription antidepressants. Benefits could increase the longer the practitioner sticks with the practice, although clinical trials typically use training periods of no longer than eight weeks.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a meditative practice in which the practitioner pays careful, curious, mindful attention to his or her own thoughts, sensations, and feelings. Practitioners are encouraged to notice their internal worlds without judgment. The practice may prevent excessive rumination, a key factor in depression and depression relapse, by helping to change the practitioner’s sense of self. It may also help with emotional regulation by honing practitioners’ awareness of their emotional state. This can help practitioners become aware of situations that could precipitate an emotional crisis long before that crisis occurs.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation at Home
If you’re interested in practicing mindfulness meditation at home, the technique is easy and requires no special classes or equipment. Just follow these steps:
- Sit upright. If you’re not flexible enough to sit in the traditional lotus position, that’s okay. Just sit upright in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Close your eyes. Pay attention to your breath without trying to control it. Pay attention to physical sensations in your body. Do not pass judgment on them.
- When your mind wanders, gently return your attention to your breath. It is natural and normal for the mind to wander during mindfulness meditation. When you notice your mind wandering to other thoughts, simply bring your attention back to your breath without passing judgment.
- Practice for 20 to 30 minutes every day. The longer you maintain your practice, the more benefits you will experience.
If you’re looking for an effective depression treatment, why not try mindfulness meditation? This ancient practice has been proven to bring about real improvement in depression symptoms. Best of all, it’s free, and carries no risk of side effects.
Article Submitted By Community Writer