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December 6th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Mindfulness as good as antidepressant drugs, study says

Mindfulness therapy is gaining headway in many areas of psychology, and now there's more evidence to back up its effectiveness.

A new study published the Archives of General Psychiatry finds that depression patients in remission who underwent mindfulness therapy did as well as those who took an antidepressant, and better than those who took a placebo. That means that mindfulness therapy was as effective as antidepressants in protecting against a relapse of depression.

Mindfulness generally refers to the concept of being present and in the moment, and comes from the Buddhist meditation tradition. In the context of this study, mindfulness therapy incorporates meditation and focuses on helping patients watch their feelings and thoughts in a way that lets them work with them differently, said Zindel Segal of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in Toronto, Ontario.

Participants who received mindfulness therapy learned how to meditate on their own for 40 minutes a day, in addition to going to a session with a therapist.

"It’s kind of like going like going to the gym and working a muscle, except in this case you’re not working a muscle in your body, you’re working the muscles in your brain that help you understand and control your emotions," Segal said.

Having this alternative to psychotropic medications is crucial because up to 40 percent of people who come out of depression do not take their prescribed antidepressants to prevent relapse, defying doctors' recommendations. Pregnant women, for example, may be concerned about the effect of the drugs on the baby. Mindfulness seems to be an effective, non-pharmaceutical alternative, Segal said.

One drawback with mindfulness is that it can be a struggle to find time for it, Segal said. You have to carve out 30 to 40 minutes per day to do the meditations on your own, according to this particular regimen. But it can become part of a plan to take care of yourself, he said.

The next step is making mindfulness therapy practice available to more people, he said. There may be ways of delivering it online, for example. Right now there are few people trained with it, and about 14.8 million American adults have major depressive disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health.


soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. melinda

    As someone literally born in depression-i wanted to die at age 6-this report makes a lot of sense. mindfulness therapy really does work. i'm no doc, but i think it helps by stopping rumination in its tracks, which gives brain chemistry a chance to repair itself. it also does feel like brain exersize, so maybe meditation prevents relapse in that it builds up one set of neuropathways while allowing another to rest. all i know is, it works well enough that a couple of psychologists i know use it too! and that's good enough for me!

    December 6, 2010 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • george in texas

      @roy, so what's white people supposed to do? would jesus get all mad at them if they did yoga?

      December 6, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • lt. dingle

      When the bible refers to the Holy Spirit, it is specifically talking about meditation and the cool breeze coming fro the top of your head.

      December 6, 2010 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
    • Levi

      @Roy

      When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus was meditating on the mountain for a week. So hush.. clearly you know nothing of expanding the mind and soul. Try it. I started meditating and eventually astral projected. It's an experience I would never give up and yes I'm christian.

      December 6, 2010 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • Lyndon

      @roy

      Jesus, said the body is a holy temple. I see meditation as a way for spiritual fitness, just like going to the gym for physical fitness. Meditation is mentioned at-least 16 times in the Bible.

      December 6, 2010 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • WhatUTalkin'BoutWillis

      @ Roy369 What do you think praying is? Especially when one prays for hours and hours, (Christ at the Garden of Gethsemane or Moses when he received the commandments.) There are many examples of people praying for long periods of time in the bible, it's not very different from meditation...you are focusing on how you feel and what the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to you.

      December 6, 2010 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
    • GOP-Bob

      Roy: He did. The kingdom of the lord is within you.

      December 6, 2010 at 20:21 | Report abuse |
    • lee fithian

      oy Jesus joyfully told me while I was meditating that You suck.

      December 6, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      @Roy-Prayer is a form of mediation-I'm pretty sure Jesus was down with that!

      December 6, 2010 at 20:57 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      For those of you worried about Christianity and meditation: Worry no more... It's all throught the Bible. The Psalms encourage Selah, and Jesus frequently taught not to be concerned with the future (be anxious for nothing) or the past (forgiveness). This could be seen as being "present minded". Mindfulness is not a Buddhist thing, it's a present focus thing. The Buddhists just made it a major focus of their lifestyle. Christians, expecially those suffering from anxiety or depression should not be affraid to relax, become aware of present moments, and learn to be at peace in the presence of life. To "cast your cares" is to be seperate from them. That is a mindfulness perspective.

      December 6, 2010 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Roy
      Which Hindu god are you talking about? Buddhism, where this kind of mindfulness/meditation comes from, does not actually have a god. It is optional on that path. Jesus advocated prayer and it is a kind of mindfulness. As Mani says, Hinduism is the elder and Buddhism is its child. Exercise is also helpful though it is difficult to use it mindfully if you are in a state of deep depression. The most effective treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It uses many Buddhist practices though they do not point that out. DBT teaches many forms of mindfulness with no religion attached. Marsha Lineham is the originator. It does work better than any other form of therapy. There is no dragging you through your past miseries over and over. It works with what you are in the now. A welcome relief from the classical talk therapy that re-victimizes you by making you discuss every horrible thing that ever happened. It is like ruminating with an audience.

      December 6, 2010 at 22:45 | Report abuse |
    • tim

      But roy He did, just search meditation in any bible search, it appears quite commonly.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      For that matter, why are we having ANY discussion of religion the topic is depression and meditation; I have no problems at all with anyone's personal beliefs, but come on, I really just wanted to read some comments about its effectiveness or lack thereof, not to be subject to sermons.

      December 7, 2010 at 01:17 | Report abuse |
    • ME

      About two years ago, I read an article in Psychology Today about long term depression. It said that some people's brains get into the habit of being clinically depressed; however, new research was showing that a person could gradually overcome that tendency by creating new thought habits and restructuring the brain's chemicals. I think this article works hand in hand with that research. It's certainly better to learn a positive and constructive mindset instead of just covering the symptoms with drugs.

      December 7, 2010 at 05:18 | Report abuse |
    • heartfulSoul

      see traumHealing.com–dedicated to what you found on you own

      December 7, 2010 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
  2. george in texas

    @roy369, so what the white people supposed to .

    December 6, 2010 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. QDH

    I does work for me, and also some one I know who also has severe depression. I combine meditation and yoga, and it works great.

    December 6, 2010 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. SnowflakeGirl

    As someone who has been through multiple depressions and dysthymia I can tell you that this approach changed my life. The meds eventually stopped working, I never could "Connect" with therapists because of the feeling that they would not care if they were not being paid to "care."

    Changing your mind and your outlook has been a foundation of Cognitive Behavioral therapy for many years. Even small changes can help a lot. When you observe and are mindful of you think and act you can start to change it. If you don't pay attention you will not change. Pills don't solve everything.

    @roy369 – use your head. If Jesus could cure depression millions would not have it. The brain is a complicated organ that scientists have not yet fully figured out. Don't be ignorant in the name of religion.

    December 6, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seetheway

      "If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you...

      This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
      for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

      December 6, 2010 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Why is it Christians have to keep preaching and quoting the Bible selectively? Do they honestly think hounding people will convert them? Mindfulness works for anyone and is not attached to religion though many spiritual paths have it. It is obnoxious to keep telling everyone that only Jesus works. Hog wash.

      December 6, 2010 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
    • Chris Taylor

      Speaking from the point of view of someone that has been on antidepressants since i was 5, Meditation has produced more positive change that just throwing a chemical blanket over the real problem, pills only helped for a short time, and never fixed the problem. Now meditation meditation is more than just sitting on the floor with your eyes closed, its changing perception, trancending the lies that we are told on a daily basis, that "if you dont have this or that your just not important".

      as for you people prattling off about Jesus, what do you think he was doing when he sat in prayer for hours on end, Demeaning this or that, GIVE ME, GIVE ME, NO, HE WAS LETTING THE CHANGES COME THROUGH, BY LISTENING.

      GOD IS IN ALL THINGS(INCLUDING TERRORISTS), BUT YOU ARE THE ONE THAT CHOOSES TO BLOCK WHAT HE IS SAYING BY SELF GRASPING JUDGMENTS, INTOLERANCE, AND CONDITIONS.

      GODS LOVE THE LOVE OF "CHRIST MIND" IS UNCONDITIONAL, it has no conditions, that means you are the one that chooses to turn from god by not accepting others the way they are.

      December 7, 2010 at 01:56 | Report abuse |
    • ME

      I agree with you about Cognitive Behavior Therapy, but I don't think it's wise to discount religion. Even if it's just a placebo effect, religion has proven beneficial and calming for many people. Just a couple hours ago, I read an article indicating that people who form friendships through a church setting tend to feel happier and more fulfilled. Furthermore, many studies have found indication that prayer sometimes mysteriously helps people who are ill, even if they don't know they are being prayed for. Studies found that people who were secretly prayed for still did better than people with no prayer at all, but couldn't explain why. Call it God, good vibes, whatever you want, there is something to be said for the mental peace that can come through faith in a higher power.

      December 7, 2010 at 05:23 | Report abuse |
    • Pope

      Qualludes do.

      May 22, 2011 at 01:31 | Report abuse |
  5. SoundGuy

    My recommendation for those who want to remain mindful during meditation is to meditate outdoors and listen carefully to all natural sounds. And if you live in a city you can get nature sound mp3s online, for example at http://www.transcendentaltones.com. I find that listening carefully to the music we evolved to and its very intricate nuances and randomness helps me to keep focused and not wonder off with some mundane thoughts...

    December 6, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bill

    Always some fool who has no insight into the issues but has to open his stupid mouth

    December 6, 2010 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. isaiah

    I do Falun Gong meditation. It is doing wonder to my life.

    December 6, 2010 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. R

    Lifestyle changes should always be the first resort if the other option is a pill, but people always want the easy way out. It would be totally un-American to actually do something for themselves that is a little difficult or different.

    I know big pharma will adamantly disagree though, they already have their hooks into everything.

    December 6, 2010 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amy

      R & Alex, you clearly have no idea what depression is? Major depressive disorder is not "being in a bad mood", it is a severe debilitating illness. Do you think people commit suicide because they are in a bad mood? They commit suicide because they see no possibility of relief from the darkness and pain they fight every day – there is no joy, there is no hope. Whether to take a pill or try to help yourself is not necessarily a mutually exclusive decision. Many doctors recommend anti-depressants to help the patient feel well enough to start taking better care of themselves. Very arrogant of you to think you can make any statements abiout something you clearly know nothing about.

      December 6, 2010 at 18:39 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Amen Amy You summed it up well. I have been depressed since childhood and became bipolar II when I had a child and no doctor would address the fact that I was not just sad. I was psychotic with horrible paranoia and both aural and visual hallucinations. The blew me off with "Oh, that is normal and it will go away." My life since then has been one crisis after another and I would not be hear if it had not been for the meds. Anyone who thinks mental illnesses are merely a bad mood are so ignorant that they do not even bother to read up on it. With the Internet it is no longer acceptable for people to be ignorant. Compassion is the first thing the sick and vulnerable need and most of them have taken cr@p for years about how they need to pull themselves together. Bah

      December 6, 2010 at 22:57 | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    I believe anti-depressants are overused. Yes, some people are probably more prone to bad moods/feelings/emotions/etc, but the best approach is to understand yourself and who you are at your core. Until you do that, anti-depressants are just a short-term solution.

    December 6, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      It is clear you are not suffering from real depression and are not a doctor. You have not bothered to read any of the many reports on-line from both sufferers and scientists.

      December 6, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
    • Hoss

      Out of the 6 billion people on the planet very view proportionately ever come close to having the luxury of finding out who they "really are". If it weren't for my anti-depressant I would have been strangling people decades ago. I'm fine since I starting taking it decades ago though. The trick is to live as happy as you can make yourself believe you are until you die of old age. If you can do that, you win.

      December 7, 2010 at 01:02 | Report abuse |
    • ME

      "Depression" is an overused term. True depression lasts for several weeks at minimum and affects one's daily life. It is not the same as being temporarily sad, having a bad day, etc.... Modern people often don't understand that it's normal for humans to feel down every once in a while, so they rush out to "treat" this symptom that is nothing more than real life. Apparently people watch too many commercials and honestly think that every minute of one's life should be filled with joy.

      December 7, 2010 at 05:25 | Report abuse |
  10. adamB

    This is another poorly designed trial set up to try and show how good meditation is. How come one of the controls was not some other relaxing activity, say a 40 minute massage every day? There is no control for meditation which makes it impossible to draw any conclusions from this study... it doesn't stop people who don't understand how a rigorous trial should be conducted from inferring that meditation is the source of the improvement however.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniel

      Adam, the study found that mindfulness was better than a placebo pill and as good as antidepressant drugs in controlling depression.

      December 6, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • adamB

      yes that is my point which you seem to have missed. how is a placebo pill a control for meditation?

      December 6, 2010 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Adam, placebo pill is a CONTROL vs antidepressants - which is the so-called "standard of care" for depression. And meditation was comparable to those antidepressants and better than placebo, which IS a big deal.

      This is an industry that foists BILLIONS of dollars in antidepressants on the American public every year - including children - and calls it science. If there is a non-medication alternative for people (and believe me, there are many), then I say good riddance.

      December 6, 2010 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Ludd

      Well, Adam, one flaw in your argument is that mindfulness meditation is not inherently relaxing. It is a mental activity... a practice... and just as with physical practice of any kind it is meant to work and train the mind, not simply relax it. That training helps one generally have more control over one's own mind and thoughts, which can be incredibly helpful for those with depression.

      December 6, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
    • dtothep

      Thank you Josh. Sounds like Adam needs some svadyaya and maybe a little ahimsa in his daily life. A small mind attacking a big concept that it doesn't understand.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:44 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      In defense of Adam, to say he is small minded just because he does not agree is rather rude; and it is unnecessary – it was not said meditation does not work, only that there was no comparison to OTHER relaxing activities; why is it always the new agers slamming those of us that just that you prove something first? Personally I prefer climbing and skiing, Yoga and sitting still is just not in me, so does that make mine wrong over someone elses form of relaxing?

      December 7, 2010 at 01:23 | Report abuse |
    • cmykamy

      I don't completely agree with adam, but massage also offers temporary relief from depression. Not just because it relaxes, but something about the human touch.

      December 7, 2010 at 09:36 | Report abuse |
  11. evensteven

    I meditate and I take anti-depressants. I enjoy them both and they work together. I can say that anti-depressants have saved my life because they saved my marriage and help me be more productive and happy. There's a lot of people who won't take anti-depressants because they believe that if they take medicine that makes them sick! Why limit your potential happiness? Why not avail oneself of all potential beneficial treatments? Can you ever be too happy?

    Don't knock it until you try it . . . and try it for 3-4 weeks. Many people don't know they're unhappy because they've never experienced happiness. Many people believe that if they are "living right" that they will then deserve to be happy and that happiness is something God gives them for a life well-lived. Depression is chemistry out-of-balance in the body. Why exclude something like anti-depressants which could really make a huge difference?

    Generic anti-depressants are $4 at Wallmart. A small price to pay for a better life.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Joe

    I used to be overly stressed, tried pills for a month. I stopped taking the pills. I now jog, go to the gym, read books more often, and watch less TV. Imagine that... all the stress and frustration is now gone, WITHOUT the help of big pharma.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amy

      Ummm stress and clinical depression are not the same thing. Good for you for taking better care of yourself, I have had the same type of results with regular exercise – decreased stress levels.

      December 6, 2010 at 18:41 | Report abuse |
  13. ces

    The pope would not like that. Back in late 70's the grand roman catholic council declared meditaion to be anti-christian.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • j

      and they claim condoms are of the devil. such a farce! i really wish people would let go of the idea that God or whatever you believe in can only speak to you through his "chosen ones." are we not all equals in this world? so why should there be some great leader telling us all what to do? i recognize that there are people who are more enlightened spiritually than others, but that gives them no right to dictate everything people should think and believe.

      we're all spiritual beings experiencing a human journey. and for those who aren't suffering from depression, we should make it our business to be supportive of those who do suffer.

      December 7, 2010 at 02:46 | Report abuse |
  14. Ray

    Antidepressants do work, but they can and do have minor to major side effects. I speak from experience. Meditation works too and has zero negative side effects although for moderate to severe depression and/or anxiety it may not be that effective. There is no one-cure since depressions varies in form and severity. Please consult a professional on this; don't take the amateur advice, including mine, from a CNN blog. Depression is complex and your health is too important.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. hogarth

    @ adamB – the conclusion of the study was that meditation was AS GOOD AS pills, and better than a placebo. Whether a nice backrub would do the same was not part of the study, but doesn't change its conclusion one iota. A backrub may indeed be as good, but the fact – as shown in this study – that meditation is as good as pills isn't changed by that possibility at all.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • adamB

      i agree with you and was just trying to imply that the study should be taken at face value without trying to extrapolate the somehow magical effects of meditation. No mechanism of action can be found from a study like this. The reporting here seems to miss the point that the most interesting thing about this should be the follow up research it brings about and the fact that it blatantly turns into a promotion of "mindfulness" therapy.

      December 6, 2010 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      "Blatantly turns into a promotion for mindfulness therapy"?? You're joking right? Do you work for a drug company or are you just naive?

      First you misinterpret the "control" group in the study, now you try to apply drug company ethics to meditation? It's not like yogi's the world over are spending millions to promote meditation like - oh, I don't know - Paxil, Abilify, Prozac, Lexapro, etc...

      Again, if there is a non-medication alternative, then that is a GOOD thing.

      December 6, 2010 at 20:01 | Report abuse |
  16. recovered

    I was misdiagnosed and given ativan in the ER (a strong anti anxiety med). Six months of my life are gone. I had a paradoxical response and convulsed. Nobody linked the drugs, they kept giving me more and I convulsed even more. The drugs are dangerous and very poorly understood. Meditate. I wish I had. It would have saved me a small fortune and half a year of my life. Never had an anxiety problem in my life. Now I fear doctors.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Karen

    If you change your mind/thought patterns of course it's going to change how you feel....Adam!

    December 6, 2010 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Chocobach

    For those Christians who suspect meditation, consider that prayer is a form of meditation...prayers can be mantras that focus your thoughts. I'm not a Christian but I "pray" for lovingkindness with a meditation practice that helps me have more empathy for others.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sameer

    Meditation is effective. Like anything, give it a try and see what happens. I took a 10-day course called Vipassana meditation about 4 years ago and I haven't looked back. It has made a tremendous difference in my life. You can take a look at the site at http://www.dhamma.org.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. a slozomby

    the fda will never accept any findings that show something that is not addictive and can not be produced in a lab is a good possible treatment.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Steven H.

    Meditation is nothing new...I don't know why all of a sudden there are quite a few articles regarding it.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris M

      Because it seems to help people with depression.

      December 6, 2010 at 20:26 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      It is THE most successful treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and is used in psyche wards nearly every where. It is helpful for Bipolar as well. If it is working and people are not being made worse by it, as they are with many meds, then no one should object. This has been going on for years and it is just recently that it has become public knowledge. I.e. CNN and et.al are the last to know. Religion helps some people but no one would set up a study with all the controls used in testing drugs.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse |
    • ME

      Calgary Sandy, that is simply not true. I researched Borderline Personality Disorder extensively at the graduate level after divorcing a man who had it. The number one most recommended treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, not meditation. Mindfulness is a small part of CBT, but is hardly the only thing, nor or mindfulness and meditation the same thing. Furthermore, as part of my studies, I observed psyche wards and never once saw any meditation. Until very recently, drugs were the first line of defense for BPD, and they still are in some backwards areas, but CBT is rapidly emerging as the most effective therapy.

      December 7, 2010 at 05:33 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      No, DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) is widely considered the most effective treatment for BPD and mindfulness is a huge part in this treatment. I have had several therapists encourage mindfulness and visualization to augment therapy and meds.

      December 7, 2010 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
  22. Thomas

    For donation only guided mindfulness meditation classes on-line go to

    http://www.vimeo.com/mindful community

    they are widely considered to be the best in the field and communicate in plain English..all former monks and nuns who've been doing this for at least 25 years...they have a retreat center, weekly classes, everything. Game changers.

    December 6, 2010 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. guest

    Meditation is probably an effective treatment for depression brought about by natural causes, but if the depression or any other psychosis is brought about by unnatural causes, like toxins in the environment (like toxic air fresheners) then the only sure remedy is a carefully engineered drug made for just such planned unfortunate accidents (how many suffering from sick building syndrome are here today?). airfreshener411 blogspot com telepathy101

    December 6, 2010 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ME

      Actually, multiple studies just a few years ago refuted this idea. They found that drugs can be a potential crutch for a short time, but that it was possible to alter the brain's chemical make up through positive therapy and behavioral changes.

      December 7, 2010 at 05:37 | Report abuse |
  24. Char

    Meditation is beneficial because it naturally calms the mind it reduces stress. Personally I find meditating upon nature to be very effective as one can easily focus on the beauty of an organic form or beautiful scenery while using mindful meditation techniques to relax. If you can't get outdoors to enjoy a nature, you might enjoy watching a scenic relaxation DVD by Serenity Moments at http://www.serenitymoments.com/

    December 6, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Marlon Brando

    I was practicing Buddhism for a year and then quit and my depression returned. I am so cynical about these things but it proved to be true. Also lots of neuroscience has come to prove the above is more than a fact. Read ZEN and the BRAIN...amazing book....peace to all who suffer.....

    December 6, 2010 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Barbara T.

    I taught meditation classes for several years it can be helpful to those who actually follow through on finding the time
    to meditate. One needs to practice meditation everyday by making it a essential part of your life. There are several books and classes on-line so there is no excuse why one cannot learn to meditate. It is healthy for our children to grow up in households with parents who practice meditation it helps balance hyper- active stress levels. Just ten minutes a day is a way to begin a healthier way of life at home and at work. If everyone would meditate we would live in a different world a more peaceful and happy society would evolve forward.

    December 6, 2010 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. xy

    "The unique state of restful alertness gained during the
    Transcendental Meditation technique promotes health by
    reducing activation of the sympathetic nervous system—which,
    in turn, dilates the blood vessels and reduces stress hormones" –
    such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol ...."

    taken from – http://www.tm.org/benefits-depression-adult

    December 6, 2010 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. james d

    "Be still (meditate) and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

    December 6, 2010 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mary

    NO... I had depression and I tried everything except medication..I suffered and when I had suffered much, I suffered some more..Just because I felt I could 'think' my way out of it..'will' my way out of it..
    Finally when I has sat on rock bottom and could not 'force' my brain chemistry to activate...I took medication..In about two months I realized I had suffered because people just simply do not want to accept mediation for the brain..~!
    Please.... This is no different than needing hormones or insulin.. Just accept medication and stop suffering...Please...~!

    December 6, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Faisal

    ok i'm not going to waste my time reading all this rubbish, but it is obvious that medicine is terrorist to the body and God is fruit to the spirit. take it or leave it you blind charlatans

    December 6, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lioness

      God says it's fine with him if you take medication that you really need, and that prayer is not the sole solution to serious clinical depression for most people. He likes the combination of prayer, meditation, antidepressant medication, and anything else that helps us.

      December 7, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
  31. Johnny K.

    Mindfulness is ok, but transcendental meditation is the one that really works. When articles talk about the value of meditation it's invariably referring to research on TM. I should know–I tried them all.

    December 6, 2010 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bobR

      In fact most of that research is on mindfulness, not TM. Not knocking TM, but its just not the hot topic in psychology research that mindfulness is right now.

      December 6, 2010 at 21:29 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      I did TM in the early 80's. I got sick of the constant refrain that I would get rich because I did TM. It was all money, money, money and the drive to become powerful in society. I learned it to be healthier not to get rich. I was healthier until I quit meditating. I can still use the mantra; which is a legitimate Hindu word. It is hard work and it pays off. There is no such thing as a free ride to health. They have discovered that the Brain can and does change even for physical brain damage. Again, it is hard and long work but it can be done.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:11 | Report abuse |
  32. emichi

    Why are so many people talking about god, jesus, and christianity? Depression is real...religion/god is just a tool to try to give people comfort. I can see meditation helping depressed people in redirecting their thoughts, but how can 30-40 minutes of meditation help in a day?

    December 6, 2010 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dtothep

      well, i can tell you that it does, and how it does, but it is one of those things that you have to do for yourself. try to meditate for 30 minutes a day for a month. if you aren't calmer, clearer headed, more aware, more relaxed, rejuvenated and generally more pleasant... well then I was wrong about you and you can go back to being a mindless troll once again.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
  33. MedStudent

    this actually makes logical sense, glad to see some holistic treatments not being afraid to actually empirically test themselves (which is the problem with holistic treatments in general, they never want to be studied).

    First, it was used for depressive patients in REMISSION. That meant they had already taken an antidepressant, which likely means they had already adjusted their sensitivity to serotonin/Norepi (for the majority of patients) so all they had left to work on was destructive thought processes common to the OCD/Anxiety portion of the most common depressive syndromes.

    However this study left out what type of depression they had which makes all the difference (at least they left it out in this article, I probably won't read the original paper until after exams which is another few weeks out). Was the medication they took standardized? Did they have seasonal affective disorder, OCD/Anxiety/Depression, were they on SSRIs and NAris? did they have history of suicidal ideation? Any comorbid disorders?

    Depression isn't really a one glove fits all type of deal, so I'd like to know how they actually measured depression, what types of medications they were compared against, and how they measured "satisfaction" with the treatment. Lotta details left out of this article that really make a very significant difference in the interpretation of this study.

    December 6, 2010 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      OCD is not a "portion" of most depressive syndromes (see DSM-IV). Just because they didn't mention your short list of reliability and validy concerns, doesn't mean the study is weak. They also don't mention the affect size or detail their sample group. The point is, mindfulness is a valid, emperical, congnitive construct that deserves to be included in discussion of treatment rather than jumping to medication as an answer for aspects of depression management.

      December 6, 2010 at 21:39 | Report abuse |
    • Hoss

      Are you on LSD? What do you mean by "holistic treatments not being afraid to actually empirically test themselves"???

      December 7, 2010 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
    • MedStudent

      DSMIV is out of date buddy

      December 7, 2010 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • MedStudent

      "just because they didn't mention your short list of validity and reliability concerns doesn't mean this study is weak"

      LOLOL I hope you're not being serious that is EXACTLY what that means. Leaving out key information regarding methods, sampling, etc leaves no way to actually interpret the study which makes it weak. I will be checking out the original study which I hope will clarify this but holistic treatments have used these sneaky tactics before only to later have more sound studies prove they don't work at all.

      Holistic treatments are for the most parts scams. When a holistic treatment actually works and is enhanced to be clinically effective it is no longer a holistic treatment it is a medical treatment (see statins)

      December 7, 2010 at 09:41 | Report abuse |
  34. Steven

    When one learns to be mindful finding time is not a problem as we can do both formal and informal practices throughout the day. I teach people to start with 5 minutes, then add other times and informally doing it when one has to wait or practice patience, etc..Not only is it good for depression, but anxiety, anger and a whole host of other problems that result when the mind is off track. Using mindfulness in therapy is also quiet helpful in helping clients do cognitive therapy and just about every other type of therapy out there. Expect it to be shot down by the drug companies and their surrogates as no one can make a profit on it and if this gets out Big Pharm will be quiet threatened where it counts – in the bank account.

    December 6, 2010 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Paulie

    Know what else is an awesome anti-depressant? Weed!

    December 6, 2010 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      Yes. If it is heavy on the Indica side. If it is a strong Sativa you can trigger really nasty anxiety. It should be naturally grown from good seeds.Today's grow op weed is too low on the chemicals that are healthy for mental illness and keep you tumor free. Messing with the genes to get a faster growing and fruiting plant that is smaller and can be grown in doors has not been good for the chemical composition.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
  36. Barbara T.

    emichi you need to study books on the effects of meditation on the brain – meditation changes the brain chemistry over a period of months. TM is but one of several meditations out there zen monks have been tested while meditating read the book Zen and the Brain for a good explanation on why meditation works. Meditation takes work and one needs a guide to help get one started on the correct way to meditate. One needs to search for the meditation that will suit your specific needs. As for depression issues of course you may need medication and meditation to help you cope with your individual brain-body chemistry. Meditation can induce spiritual experiences I learned this while studying in India where meditation is
    practiced on a daily basis similar to jogging. We do need to exercise our brain muscles it helps balance our emotions and
    offers so much more read do the research.

    December 6, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Robert Agopian

    Prayer is meditation...it refreshes the mind as well as the soul.....so why not pray instead?

    December 6, 2010 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Mani

    Meditation and yoga existed in Hinduism long before Jesus or Buddism came existence. Let us not try to change history here. Indus valley civilization was one of the advance civilization on the olden days dating back in BC. If it is good any one can use it for this no religion is needed. Some of the post here sickness me with trying to compare what is said in Bible or not. Why this argument. Are we educated people here or what ?

    December 6, 2010 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sonia

      Finally!!! Someone who makes some sense!

      December 6, 2010 at 23:01 | Report abuse |
  39. Marco555

    Exercise. You don't have to have any robes and rituals, no tossing of rose pedals, no Religion, no meds or acupuncture. Just a good gym or some iso cables which you can hang from a door.

    December 6, 2010 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Sonia

    People, seriously! Meditation existed LONG before JESUS was AROUND!!!!!! It is great that Jesus meditated.... but honestly...instead of constantly arguing about where meditation originated from why not TRY to recognize the similarities that many religions have when it comes to ideas such as meditation. Maybe start realizing that ALL religions are different paths to the same goal instead of concentrating on the differences....it won't take away from your faith to respect someone elses!

    December 6, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. James Monaghan

    Meditation is an excellent anti-depressant but marijuana is the best one. Period.

    December 6, 2010 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      If you could smoke everywhere including work it would be very good, assuming you have a clean, healthy strain. I used in most of my life but find the grow op stuff is nasty. I went med free for 6 months and used weed. I was fine. Then I went back to work and I flipped out because of what a toxic place it was. Bullies everywhere. I had to go back to meds as weed could not help me cope with the corporate environment.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
  42. jbird

    Finally. A branch of medicine that almost endorses a branch of alternative medicine. Pigs will fly yet.

    December 6, 2010 at 23:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. james

    Bah, I'm still waiting for the wet-ware revolution. The sooner we develop the tech to shove wires into our skulls, the sooner these drugs and therapies will be passe.

    December 6, 2010 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Stressless

    There use to be a time – when people had the time to relax on their front porch, chat with a neighbor, peer up at the stars, and relax. Today, with two parents working, people unable to own a home, light pollution blocking out the stars, crime preventing people from sitting out at night – the alternatives have become drugs, mediation, and self enclosure under a pair of ear-phones. For every new mental copping strategywe come up with the American society adds additional stresses. The root causes need to be addressed – humans can only adapt so far (example: multi-tasking).

    December 6, 2010 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Teddy Tse

    I'm from Hong Kong and I took a ten days Vipassana meditation course last year. After that, I've completely quitted my 17 years smoking and drinking habit! Incredible, isn't it! My life is now full of love, joy and compassion. ^_^

    December 6, 2010 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • agirl

      i've done the ten day vipassana also. that was a crazy thing, but what an amazing experience.

      December 6, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
  46. agirl

    i love yoga and meditation, but it is really hard work. to reach happiness and piece requires a lot of effort, pain, determination, perseverance and hard work. it is not easy to do an hour and a half of yoga, just it is not easy to sit an hour and a half and meditate. I've done a vipassana retreat of 10 days, a complete silence meditation retreat. that is when I realized that hell is in my mind.
    I recommend to anyone to start doing meditation and yoga, it is the only answer to the hell in your mind. it is the way to quiet your mind and understand yourself, your thoughts and be at piece.
    go for it! just remember it is hard work and nothing comes easily.

    December 6, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. agirl

    meditation comes from Hinduism. Buddhism started from Hinduism also. yoga and meditation comes from Hinduism, from the sacred scripts of Hinduism. as a matter of fact Hinduism is nothing but yoga/meditation and Buddhism is nothing but meditation. actually our lives are nothing but yoga and meditation, just different levels of awareness.

    December 6, 2010 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. susan k., nyc

    The headline says something completely different from what the article says.

    The study showed that meditation helps *if the person is already in remission*. In other words, they are feeling *not* depressed anymore.

    It is incredibly irresponsible and damaging to imply that meditation is as helpful as antidepressants for those with full-blown depression. In fact, for those who read that and decide not to go on meds if they are suicidal, you may have blood on your hands.

    December 7, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. wann2know

    My oh my. What did human beings do throughout time without drug companies? In some cases meds make a difference, but they are not the long term solution, as is learning to relax with meditation.

    Breathing in, I recognize my feelings. Breath out, I comfort my hurt feelings.
    Breathing in, my mind is clearer. Breathing out, I smile being free from drugs.

    Here's a guided meditation I've enjoyed.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXJs9bdcnXw

    December 7, 2010 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. wann2know

    To live mindfully offers individuals and families countless moments of happiness together. This sums it up,
    with mindfulness we smile
    youtube.com/watch?v=HEUe8WQWpu4

    December 7, 2010 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.