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Objective: To review selected complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD).Participants: Authors of this report were invited participants in the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Evidence: The group reviewed the literature on individual CAM treatments for MDD, methodological considerations, and future directions for CAM in psychiatry. Individual CAM treatments were reviewed with regard to efficacy in MDD, as well as risks and benefits. Literature searches included MEDLINE and PsycINFO reviews and manual reference searches; electronic searches were limited to English-language publications from 1965 to January 2010 (but manual searches were not restricted by language). Treatments were selected for this review on the basis of (1) published randomized controlled trials in MDD and (2) widespread use with important clinical safety or public health significance relevant to psychiatric practice. An action plan is presented based on needs pertaining to CAM and psychiatry. Consensus Process: Consensus was reached by group conferences. Written iterations were drafted and sent out among group members prior to discussion, resolution of any differences of interpretation of evidence, and final approval. Conclusions: A review of randomized controlled trials for commonly used CAM treatments such as omega-3 fatty acids, St John’s wort (Hypericum), folate, S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe), acupuncture, light therapy, exercise, and mindfulness psychotherapies revealed promising results. More rigorous and larger studies are recommended. Each CAM treatment must be evaluated separately in adequately powered controlled trials. At this time, several CAM treatments appear promising and deserve further study. The greatest risk of pursuing a CAM therapy is the possible delay of other well-established treatments. Clinical, research, and educational initiatives designed to focus on CAM in psychiatry are clearly warranted due to the widespread use of CAM therapies.

Body awareness has been proposed as one of the major mechanisms of mindfulness interventions, and it has been shown that chronic pain and depression are associated with decreased levels of body awareness. We investigated the effect of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on body awareness in patients with chronic pain and comorbid active depression compared to treatment as usual (TAU; N = 31). Body awareness was measured by a subset of the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) scales deemed most relevant for the population. These included: Noticing, Not-Distracting, Attention Regulation, Emotional Awareness, and Self-Regulation. In addition, pain catastrophizing was measured by the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). These scales had adequate to high internal consistency in the current sample. Depression severity was measured by the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Clinician rated (QIDS-C16). Increases in the MBCT group were significantly greater than in the TAU group on the “Self-Regulation” and “Not Distracting” scales. Furthermore, the positive effect of MBCT on depression severity was mediated by “Not Distracting.” These findings provide preliminary evidence that a mindfulness-based intervention may increase facets of body awareness as assessed with the MAIA in a population of pain patients with depression. Furthermore, they are consistent with a long hypothesized mechanism for mindfulness and emphasize the clinical relevance of body awareness.

Body awareness has been proposed as one of the major mechanisms of mindfulness interventions, and it has been shown that chronic pain and depression are associated with decreased levels of body awareness. We investigated the effect of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on body awareness in patients with chronic pain and comorbid active depression compared to treatment as usual (TAU; N = 31). Body awareness was measured by a subset of the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) scales deemed most relevant for the population. These included: Noticing, Not-Distracting, Attention Regulation, Emotional Awareness, and Self-Regulation. In addition, pain catastrophizing was measured by the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). These scales had adequate to high internal consistency in the current sample. Depression severity was measured by the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Clinician rated (QIDS-C16). Increases in the MBCT group were significantly greater than in the TAU group on the “Self-Regulation” and “Not Distracting” scales. Furthermore, the positive effect of MBCT on depression severity was mediated by “Not Distracting.” These findings provide preliminary evidence that a mindfulness-based intervention may increase facets of body awareness as assessed with the MAIA in a population of pain patients with depression. Furthermore, they are consistent with a long hypothesized mechanism for mindfulness and emphasize the clinical relevance of body awareness.

Body awareness has been proposed as one of the major mechanisms of mindfulness interventions, and it has been shown that chronic pain and depression are associated with decreased levels of body awareness. We investigated the effect of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on body awareness in patients with chronic pain and comorbid active depression compared to treatment as usual (TAU; N = 31). Body awareness was measured by a subset of the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) scales deemed most relevant for the population. These included: Noticing, Not-Distracting, Attention Regulation, Emotional Awareness, and Self-Regulation. In addition, pain catastrophizing was measured by the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). These scales had adequate to high internal consistency in the current sample. Depression severity was measured by the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Clinician rated (QIDS-C16). Increases in the MBCT group were significantly greater than in the TAU group on the “Self-Regulation” and “Not Distracting” scales. Furthermore, the positive effect of MBCT on depression severity was mediated by “Not Distracting.” These findings provide preliminary evidence that a mindfulness-based intervention may increase facets of body awareness as assessed with the MAIA in a population of pain patients with depression. Furthermore, they are consistent with a long hypothesized mechanism for mindfulness and emphasize the clinical relevance of body awareness.

An impaired ability to suppress currently irrelevant mental-sets is a key cognitive deficit in depression. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was specifically designed to help depressed individuals avoid getting caught in such irrelevant mental-sets. In the current study, a group assigned to MBCT plus treatment-as-usual (n = 22) exhibited significantly lower depression scores and greater improvements in irrelevant mental-set suppression compared to a wait-list plus treatment-as-usual (n = 18) group. Improvements in mental-set-suppression were associated with improvements in depression scores. Results provide the first evidence that MBCT can improve suppression of irrelevant mental-sets and that such improvements are associated with depressive alleviation.

Major depressive disorder is a prevalent psychiatric condition that affects cognitive functioning. Cognitive impairments associated with depression impact the treatment course and effectiveness, creating a need to target this aspect of depression directly. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be effective at preventing depressive relapse and reducing depressive symptoms, yet very little is known about its effects on cognitive impairments associated with depression. Therefore, the current study aimed to assess the effectiveness of MBCT on cognitive impairment in individuals with elevated symptoms of depression. Participants were assigned to an MBCT program (N = 22) or waitlist (N = 18). Participants completed diagnostic interviewing and self-report measures of depressive symptoms, overall cognitive functioning, and cognitive flexibility before and after the program. Participants who received MBCT had significantly improved cognitive flexibility and reduced cognitive deficits compared to those on the waitlist. In addition, improvement in cognitive deficits was significantly associated with depressive symptom improvement. These findings provide preliminary evidence that MBCT may be effective at improving cognitive impairment associated with elevated depressive symptoms.

Major depressive disorder is a prevalent psychiatric condition that affects cognitive functioning. Cognitive impairments associated with depression impact the treatment course and effectiveness, creating a need to target this aspect of depression directly. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be effective at preventing depressive relapse and reducing depressive symptoms, yet very little is known about its effects on cognitive impairments associated with depression. Therefore, the current study aimed to assess the effectiveness of MBCT on cognitive impairment in individuals with elevated symptoms of depression. Participants were assigned to an MBCT program (N = 22) or waitlist (N = 18). Participants completed diagnostic interviewing and self-report measures of depressive symptoms, overall cognitive functioning, and cognitive flexibility before and after the program. Participants who received MBCT had significantly improved cognitive flexibility and reduced cognitive deficits compared to those on the waitlist. In addition, improvement in cognitive deficits was significantly associated with depressive symptom improvement. These findings provide preliminary evidence that MBCT may be effective at improving cognitive impairment associated with elevated depressive symptoms.

Major depressive disorder is a prevalent psychiatric condition that affects cognitive functioning. Cognitive impairments associated with depression impact the treatment course and effectiveness, creating a need to target this aspect of depression directly. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be effective at preventing depressive relapse and reducing depressive symptoms, yet very little is known about its effects on cognitive impairments associated with depression. Therefore, the current study aimed to assess the effectiveness of MBCT on cognitive impairment in individuals with elevated symptoms of depression. Participants were assigned to an MBCT program (N = 22) or waitlist (N = 18). Participants completed diagnostic interviewing and self-report measures of depressive symptoms, overall cognitive functioning, and cognitive flexibility before and after the program. Participants who received MBCT had significantly improved cognitive flexibility and reduced cognitive deficits compared to those on the waitlist. In addition, improvement in cognitive deficits was significantly associated with depressive symptom improvement. These findings provide preliminary evidence that MBCT may be effective at improving cognitive impairment associated with elevated depressive symptoms.

Objective: Chronic pain is a disabling illness, often comorbid with depression. We performed a randomized controlled pilot study on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) targeting depression in a chronic pain population.Method: Participants with chronic pain lasting ≥ 3 months; DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymic disorder, or depressive disorder not otherwise specified; and a 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Clinician Rated (QIDS-C16) score ≥ 6 were randomly assigned to MBCT (n = 26) or waitlist (n = 14). We adapted the original MBCT intervention for depression relapse prevention by modifying the psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral therapy elements to an actively depressed chronic pain population. We analyzed an intent-to-treat (ITT) and a per-protocol sample; the per-protocol sample included participants in the MBCT group who completed at least 4 of 8 sessions. Changes in scores on the QIDS-C16 and 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Sale (HDRS17) were the primary outcome measures. Pain, quality of life, and anxiety were secondary outcome measures. Data collection took place between January 2012 and July 2013. Results: Nineteen participants (73%) completed the MBCT program. No significant adverse events were reported in either treatment group. ITT analysis (n = 40) revealed no significant differences. Repeated-measures analyses of variance for the per-protocol sample (n = 33) revealed a significant treatment × time interaction (F1,31 = 4.67, P = .039, η2p = 0.13) for QIDS-C16 score, driven by a significant decrease in the MBCT group (t18 = 5.15, P < .001, d = 1.6), but not in the control group (t13 = 2.01, P = .066). The HDRS17 scores did not differ significantly between groups. The study ended before the projected sample size was obtained, which might have prevented effect detection in some outcome measures. Conclusions: MBCT shows potential as a treatment for depression in individuals with chronic pain, but larger controlled trials are needed.

Objective: Chronic pain is a disabling illness, often comorbid with depression. We performed a randomized controlled pilot study on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) targeting depression in a chronic pain population.Method: Participants with chronic pain lasting ≥ 3 months; DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymic disorder, or depressive disorder not otherwise specified; and a 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Clinician Rated (QIDS-C16) score ≥ 6 were randomly assigned to MBCT (n = 26) or waitlist (n = 14). We adapted the original MBCT intervention for depression relapse prevention by modifying the psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral therapy elements to an actively depressed chronic pain population. We analyzed an intent-to-treat (ITT) and a per-protocol sample; the per-protocol sample included participants in the MBCT group who completed at least 4 of 8 sessions. Changes in scores on the QIDS-C16 and 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Sale (HDRS17) were the primary outcome measures. Pain, quality of life, and anxiety were secondary outcome measures. Data collection took place between January 2012 and July 2013. Results: Nineteen participants (73%) completed the MBCT program. No significant adverse events were reported in either treatment group. ITT analysis (n = 40) revealed no significant differences. Repeated-measures analyses of variance for the per-protocol sample (n = 33) revealed a significant treatment × time interaction (F1,31 = 4.67, P = .039, η2p = 0.13) for QIDS-C16 score, driven by a significant decrease in the MBCT group (t18 = 5.15, P < .001, d = 1.6), but not in the control group (t13 = 2.01, P = .066). The HDRS17 scores did not differ significantly between groups. The study ended before the projected sample size was obtained, which might have prevented effect detection in some outcome measures. Conclusions: MBCT shows potential as a treatment for depression in individuals with chronic pain, but larger controlled trials are needed.