A new technique healing major depression is succeeding in improving symptoms in individuals with Major Depressive Disorder. Medical News Today reported on October 20, 2011, the new approach which is based on brain studies conducted at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and published in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics.
“Recent imaging studies show that depressed patients have reduced functioning in the regions of the brain responsible for optimism,” said Jennice Vilhauer, PhD, study author and clinical director of Adult Outpatient Programs for the Cedars-Sinai Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. “Also, people with depression tend to have fewer skills to help them develop a better future. They have less ability to set goals, problem solve or plan for future events.”
Generally therapy treatment for depressed patients is cognitive therapy where the negative thoughts of the patient are challenged and the patient is expected to reconsider their negative thoughts. However, the study demonstrates that the negative thoughts are not simply a bad mental choice. The depressed patients do not have access to the mental support for a more optimistic way of thinking.
Cedars-Sinai has developed a different form of therapy for those suffering from major depression called Future Directed Therapy (TM), which helps the patients to shift their attention from the negative thoughts to what they do want and supports them in obtaining the skills necessary to reach their goals.
The study was conducted with 33 patients, 16 in the Future-Directed Therapy (TM) program and 17 in regular therapy. The Future Directed group met twice a week for 10 weeks. At the end of the process, they were evaluated for depressive and anxiety symptoms. The Future-Directed Therapy group showed significant improvement in both depression and anxiety test scores.
The doctors cannot create a new brain for the depressed patients. However, they have found a way to help depressed patients develop new cognitive pathways that will enable them to improve the outlook and perhaps in time will be able to acquire the feeling of optimism they desire. The study indicates that a better outlook for depressed patients is possible and that major depression can be improved.