Showing posts with label Effectiveness of Mindfulness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Effectiveness of Mindfulness. Show all posts

Does Mindfulness Really Work? A Scientific Enquiry.

 


The process of paying nonjudgmental attention to the current moment has been termed as mindfulness.

The awareness of breathing is commonly employed as an attentional anchor to manage ruminative thought in the early stages of mindfulness training; however mindfulness involves much more than just noticing the breath.


It is based on Buddhist practice and has been the subject of empirical research, with over scientific publications on mindfulness released in the last decade. The evidence for its use in the treatment of depression and anxiety is the strongest.

The impact sizes of mindfulness in these two illnesses have often been reported in the moderate-strong to strong range in meta-analyses. However, because some of the studies included in these meta-analyses failed to account for the placebo effect, it's not unexpected that meta-analyses with stricter inclusion criteria yield lower results.

A recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and other mindfulness-based interventions—each with an active control—found small to moderate effect sizes in the treatment of depression or anxiety after eight weeks of mindfulness training, with a reduction in effect size after three to six months.


Although the findings are less impressive, they are equivalent to those that would be expected from antidepressant therapy in a primary care population without the side effects.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the American Psychiatric Association both recommend mindfulness-based cognitive treatment for individuals with recurrent depression, based on these findings.

Other psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia spectrum disorders, eating disorders, chemical and non-chemical addiction disorders, and sleep disorders, may benefit from mindfulness-based therapies, according to some data.

Despite the fact that mindfulness has recently been added to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' practice guidelines as a non-first-line treatment for adults with binge eating disorder, there is arguably insufficient evidence from well-designed randomized trials to support its use for conditions other than depression and anxiety.


Mindfulness may potentially have a role in the treatment of somatic illnesses such as psoriasis, cancer, HIV infection, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, hypertension, lung disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic pain, according to growing evidence.

Randomized trials show that mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy, are minimally to moderately effective in the treatment of chronic pain, with potential applications in the treatment of pain-related diseases like fibromyalgia.

However, it's unclear if mindfulness improves patients' capacity to manage with pain or lessens the frequency and severity of pain.

There is inadequate high-quality data to support mindfulness for treating somatic diseases, except for chronic pain and particular pain syndromes.



Questions that remain unanswered


As previously stated, different methodological issues restrict the overall quality of the data on mindfulness's efficacy.

A type of "popularity impact" may impact results in particular. Because mindfulness is becoming more popular, participants' perceptions of getting a "fashionable" or "proven" psychotherapy practice may affect outcomes.

Because it's very hard to blind patients from the knowledge that they're employing mindfulness techniques, this is a challenging confounding variable to control for.

We also need more clarity on whether positive outcomes last for years rather than months, whether mindfulness interventions have any negative side effects, and the validity of the traditional view among contemplative traditions that long-term improvements in health and wellbeing require daily mindfulness practice over many years, rather than just attending a retreat.


In addition, data is needed to identify whether mindfulness in general or specific interventional procedures are more useful for a particular condition.

Numerous interventions have been developed, with significant variation in factors such as total participant-facilitator contact hours, including whether one-on-one contact is provided, quantity and duration of guided mindfulness exercises, use of non-mindfulness psychotherapeutic techniques such as psychoeducation or group discussion, inclusion of a full day silent retreat, and emphasis on self-practitioner interaction.

Mindfulness is defined and operationalized differently in different interventions. Recent research, for example, has concentrated on second-generation mindfulness therapies like the eight-week Meditation Awareness Training, which are founded on the notion that mindfulness is a psycho-spiritual rather than just psychological skill.

It's challenging to extrapolate findings across the whole spectrum of treatments due to significant differences in design and pedagogic approach.


Mindfulness appears to be beneficial in improving perceptual distance from stressful psychological and physical stimuli and in causing functional neuro-plastic changes in the brain, according to emerging evidence.

However, mindfulness's "fashionable" reputation among the public and the scientific community may have obscured the need to investigate crucial methodological and practical difficulties related to its efficacy.


You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.