An online version of a pioneering therapy aimed at reducing the lingering symptoms of depression can offer additional benefits for patients receiving care, according to a new U of T Scarborough study.
When added to regular depression care, the online version of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can help treat depression symptoms and help prevent its return, says U of T Scarborough Professor Zindel Segal, a clinical psychologist and lead author of the study.
“Treatments work well for many suffering from depression, but there remains a considerable group who continue to struggle with lingering symptoms such as sleep, energy or worry,” he says.
Clinical data shows that in the absence of treatment, these patients face a significantly higher risk of becoming fully depressed again, notes Segal.
“Patients with these residual symptoms face a gap in care since they are not depressed enough to warrant re-treatment, but receive few resources for managing the symptom burden they still carry.”
The digital version of MBCT, called Mindful Mood Balance (MMB), is an online adaptation of the effective treatment developed by Segal and his colleagues. It combines the practice of mindfulness meditation with the tools of cognitive therapy to teach patients adaptive ways of regulating their emotions. The practice of mindfulness meditation helps patients observe rather than act automatically to any thought, feeling or sensation that comes to mind, setting them up for being able to choose how best to respond, explains Segal.
“Our goal has always been for people to develop skills that they could continue to rely on once treatment had ended,” he says.
While research indicates that MBCT is as effective as antidepressant medication in preventing relapse, access remains limited and nearly impossible for those living outside large cities.
“What drove us to develop MMB is to improve access to this treatment. The online version uses the same content as the in-person sessions, except people can now avoid the barriers of cost, travel or wait times, and they can get the care they need efficiently and conveniently,” he says.
Segal, along with colleagues Arne Beck (Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Research) and Sona Dimidjian (University of Colorado Boulder), received a $2 million grant in 2015 from the National Institute for Health (NIH) in the U.S. to develop MMB. The program was tested in a randomized clinical trial of 460 patients in clinics at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, a large American HMO in Colorado.
The results of the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that adding MMB to depression care offered by Kaiser led to greater reductions in depressive and anxious symptoms, higher rates of remission and higher levels of quality of life compared to patients receiving conventional depression care alone.
“An online version of MBCT, when added with usual care, could be a real game changer because it can be offered to a wider group of patients for little cost,” says Segal.
Segal admits that even with the positive results, there is work to be done. A common trade-off with online programs is that drop-out rates tend to be higher than in-person treatment. An important next step is looking at ways to cut down on the dropout rate.
“The higher rates of dropout are somewhat offset by fact that you can reach many more people with online treatment,” he says. “But, there’s still room for improvement and we will be looking at our user metrics and outcomes for ways to make MMB more engaging and durable.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Student counseling centers across the country grapple with increased demandson February 23, 2020 at 4:33 pm
What about other services? While nearly all the schools have drop-in counseling, other services vary from school to school. For example, the University of Minnesota and Indiana University are ...
- An Online Psychologist Is Safe to Talk to About Your Problemson February 22, 2020 at 6:14 pm
An online psychologist is empathetic and wants their patients to have stable mental health. An integral part of online therapy is helping your client to feel safe. One thing that an individual needs ...
- Do Online Therapy Apps Put Users’ Privacy at Risk?on February 22, 2020 at 10:48 am
An increasing number of people are looking for therapy in the same place they look for a number of other things: namely, their app store of choice. And while this might seem strange at first, it makes ...
- Alaska Online Counseling, LLCon February 20, 2020 at 6:15 pm
You’re comfortable with seeing someone online, because you use a computer or your smart phone all the time, and it just makes more sense with your busy schedule. You’re not necessarily looking for ...
- The Spooky, Loosely Regulated World of Online Therapyon February 19, 2020 at 1:12 pm
Like many of the businesses offering therapy online, the service promotes itself as a seamless way to access mental health services: “Message your therapist anytime, from anywhere.” For under $40 a ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Houston Roughnecks player tackles depression to make his way back onto the fieldon February 23, 2020 at 5:23 pm
A former NFL player and Super Bowl record holder had to tackle depression in order to get back to football. Houston Roughnecks defensive player, Kony Ealy, enjoys being with his new team. "It feels ...
- ‘Rising signs of depression, in Turkey’ warns medical experton February 23, 2020 at 3:32 pm
According to data from the Health Ministry, increasing number of people in Turkey suffer from depression, said Professor Mansur Beyazyürek. “Independent of their socio-economic level or political ...
- Depression, It’s Not What Everyone Thinks It Ison February 23, 2020 at 11:35 am
Depression is more than just feeling unhappy or sad; it is a constant state of indescribable heaviness that is difficult to quantify. Dysthymia, or a “low-level” state of feeling blue, is different ...
- Melanie C opens about depressionon February 23, 2020 at 11:22 am
Melanie C feels her depression was sparked after a row with her Spice Girls bandmate Victoria Beckham backstage at the BRITs in 1996, as she was so "embarrassed" by what happened.
- Tyson Fury thanks Deontay Wilder for motivating his comeback from depression in 3-year-old videoon February 23, 2020 at 8:54 am
Since then, Fury has been open about his struggles with depression and substance abuse. Just before he returned to the ring to fight Sefer Seferi in June 2018 — 924 days after his last fight ...