Recent research out off Lakehead University and St. Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay, Canada suggest that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can help relieve symptoms of depression in individuals with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.
The study, presented at EPA 2013: 21st European Congress of Psychiatry, showed that a randomized controlled trial had signs of significantly greater relief in total and somatic depressive symptoms compared to a wait-list control group.
Depression is a very common symptom of TBI, whether it comes directly from the injury or stems from the emotional stress from coping with other symptoms, inability to work, and future instability. When the depression results directly from the injury, common pharmacologic and standard interventions often don’t relieve depressive symptoms, as reported by Medscape.
There has been previous research from the team that “strongly suggested” MBCT had a strong effect on TBI-related depression, so they said the “logical next step was to conduct a randomized controlled trial to determined the efficacy of MCBT in this patient population.
The session chair Antoine Pelissolo, MD, PhD, and professor of psychiatry at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, France, said that MBCT is important because it doesn’t involve drugs, instead favoring natural and noninvasive treatment.
“Many patients with a somatic condition like that have a problem to accept medical treatment and especially drug treatment,” he told Medscape. “So they can learn some psychological strategies to cope with their symptoms.”
The sessions with patients consisted of 10 weekly visits usually lasting around an hour and a half where they focused on memory, fatigue, and concentration by using simplified language and repetition.
The question left for the tests to answer is their long-term efficacy. The results are from a follow-up at 3 months after the start of treatment, but it is important to see how it plays out further from the injury.