Depression is characterized by a large risk of relapse/recurrence. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a recent non-drug psychotherapeutic intervention to prevent future depressive relapse/recurrence in remitted/recovered depressed patients. In this randomized controlled trial, the authors investigated the effects of MBCT on the relapse in depression and the time to first relapse since study participation, as well as on several mood states and the quality of life of the patients. 106 recovered depressed patients with a history of at least 3 depressive episodes continued either with their treatment as usual (TAU) or received MBCT in addition to TAU. The efficacy of MBCT was assessed over a study period of 56 weeks. At the end of the study period relapse/recurrence was significantly reduced and the time until first relapse increased in the MBCT plus TAU condition in comparison with TAU alone. The MBCT plus TAU group also showed a significant reduction in both short and longer-term depressive mood and better mood states and quality of the life. For patients with a history of at least three depressive episodes who are not acutely depressed, MBCT, added to TAU, may play an important role in the domain of relapse prevention in depression.
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