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How Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Can Help Treat Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction

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mindfulness-based behavioral therapiesIf you’ve been considering therapy for depression, anxiety, or addiction, you have probably learned that you have countless options at your disposal. Mindfulness-based behavioral therapies are often extremely effective in treating these issues, particularly when this type of therapy is combined with CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Let’s take a closer look at mindfulness-based behavioral therapies and how they may be able to help individuals with concerns about depression, anxiety, and addiction.

How does CBT work in conjunction with mindfulness-based behavioral therapies?

MBCT, or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, is a combination of techniques regularly used by therapists who practice CBT and certain mindfulness strategies. The goal is to help patients understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and be better able to manage them and find relief.

Cognitive methods are used to recognize familiar patterns in one’s thinking; mindfulness techniques are used to recognize negative thoughts and memories from the past and keep them from triggering episodes of depression, anxiety, or the need to use drugs or alcohol.

What kinds of techniques are used?

In addition to the methods used by CBT psychologists, these types of therapies may involve audio recordings, meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises to be used in patient’s everyday lives. This combined therapy is relatively new and is often performed in group settings, rather than individual ones, but in certain circumstances, individual settings may be preferred.

Mindfulness can be defined in different ways, which means that certain techniques may work better for some patients than others. But combined with methods regularly used in CBT, many patients gain a much deeper understanding of themselves and their patterns.

Has MBCT been shown to help those with depression, anxiety, and/or addiction?

Studies have found correlations between mindfulness practices and a decrease in anxiety and depression. In 2014, a review of MBCT usefulness found the approach may be effective for reducing depression and depressive relapse, bipolar disorder, anxiety, food disorders, and even psychosis. Stress and depression also have a serious impact on substance abuse and addiction, so mindfulness can be an extremely helpful tool for those struggling with alcohol and drug use.

Even for the seemingly “less-harmful” addictions like smoking, mindfulness-based therapies have been quite effective. These kinds of therapeutic interventions produced promising results in 13 different studies in regards to cravings, cessation, and relapse prevention.

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