Effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as an adjuvant to pharmacotherapy in patients with panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder

Yong Woo Kim, Sang-Hyuk Lee, Tae Kyou Choi, Shin Young Suh, Borah Kim, Chan Mo Kim, Sung Joon Cho, Myo Jung Kim, Keunyoung Yook, Mi Ryu, Su Kyung Song, Ki-Hwan Yook
Depression and Anxiety 2009, 26 (7): 601-6

BACKGROUND: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been widely used to treat patients with depressive disorder to prevent relapse. The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of newly developed MBCT program as an adjuvant to pharmacotherapy in the treatment of patients with panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.

METHODS: Forty-six patients with panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder were assigned to either MBCT or an anxiety disorder education (ADE) program for a period of 8 weeks. The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) were used to assess the patients at 0 week and after the two programs had been running for 2, 4, and 8 weeks.

RESULTS: The MBCT group demonstrated significantly more improvement than the ADE group according to all anxiety (HAM-A, p<0.01; BAI, p<0.01; anxiety subscale of SCL-90-R, p=0.01) and depression (HAM-D, p<0.01; BDI, p<0.01; depression subscale of SCL-90-R, p<0.01) scale scores. The obsessive-compulsive and phobic subscales of the SCL-90-R also showed significantly more improvement in the MBCT group. However, no significant improvement was observed in the MBCT group versus the ADE group in terms of the somatization, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoid ideation, or psychoticism subscale scores of the SCL-90-R.

CONCLUSIONS: MBCT may be effective at relieving anxiety and depressive symptoms in patients with panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. However, well-designed, randomized controlled trials are needed.

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