Clinical trials of psychotherapy using mindfulness with anti-depressants have shown that therapy using mindfulness on its own produces better results.
Larry Davidson Ph.D Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University refers in Mad in America an on-line magazine for Science,Psychiatry and Community to results published in The Journal Psychotherapy and Psychometrics: The Two-Sided Face of Anti-depressants: The Impacts of Their Use on Real-Life Affective Change during Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Researchers from Maastricht University and University of Groningen found that the participants in a randomized control trial for MBCT who showed the greatest improvement were those who had not taken antidepressants.
“Since the generation of positive emotions is crucial in the initiation of a positive spiral towards recovery, long-term outcomes of this contingent inhibiting effect of antidepressants on psychotherapy outcome in terms of positive affect will have to be investigated in more detail in experimental set-ups”
the researchers conclude.
The researchers explain that antidepressants are known to reduce the neural processing of both rewarding and aversive stimuli, causing “emotional blunting,” and that this may prevent the generation of positive emotions that are essential for therapy.
“If our findings are replicated it would implicate that the sequential addition of psychotherapy to antidepressants could be less efficient than discontinuing antidepressants before/during receiving psychotherapy especially for improving long-term outcomes.”