Mindfulness meditation helps with depression of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is usually considered a rheumatologic condition characterized by at least 3 months of widespread pain and the presence of tender points. About two thirds of fibromyalgia patients also suffer from depression, and many such patients eventually find their way to our offices. Effective treatments for fibromyalgia include antidepressants, excercise programs, and cognitive behavioral therapy. A new study randomized 91 women with fibromyalgia to either eight weekly 2.5 hour mindfulness meditation sessions or a waiting list control. At 2 month follow-up, depressive symptoms improved more in the meditation group than the control group (Sephton SE, et al., Arthritis and Rheumatism 2007;57:77-85).
It would have been better to see mindfulness meditation compared with antidepressants or another active treatment, but this study is encouraging. Mindfulness meditation is now something else that we can recommend to these patients, many of whom have been suffering for years and have found other approaches unhelpful.
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