Depression is not only the most common mental illness, it’s also one of the most tenacious. Up to 80 percent of people who experience a major depressive episode may relapse. Drugs may lose their effectiveness over time, if they work at all.
But a growing body of research is pointing to an intervention that appears to help prevent relapse by altering thought patterns without side effects: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT. Read more
Some one in five patients drop out of mental health-care treatment, often because their first treatment didn’t work. Is there a way to predict what will?
A growing number of psychologists and other scientists are using MRI, fMRI and PET on a quest to find out. Although it’s still in the very early stages, their research suggests that clinicians may one day be able to match patients to effective treatments and ease symptoms faster by using information from brain imaging, along with other biomarkers such as DNA and hormone levels.
“It’s possible that within our lifetimes you will go to your doctor’s office, give blood, and if it’s not prohibitively expensive, get an fMRI,” says Gabriel Dichter, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina. “We accept it as part of standard care of neurology and cancer care, so why not for mental health?” Read more
Mindfulness training holds promise for treating mood disorders partly because it may lead to changes in patients’ brains, improving connectivity among some brain areas and changing tissue density in key regions, research suggests. Read more