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Depression can be effectively treated by altering how you think

Harold Mandel's picture

Researchers say you can get rid of depression by thinking differently. Learning to not ruminate as much on thoughts and feelings has positive effects for people suffering from depression.


Depression is a very painful state of being which can undermine your enjoyment of everything in life and which can ultimately lead to suicide. It's become a trendy topic to discuss taking drugs for depression even though this approach which is favored by psychiatrists generally leads to far more harm than good due to the myriad of dangerous side effects which are associated with the psychiatric drugs.

MCT is an alternative non-drug therapy which deals with changing how you think to wipe out depression

Norwegian University of Science and Technology reports on an alternative non-drug therapy which deals with changing how you think to wipe out depression. Researchers have found that learning not to ruminate as much on thoughts and feelings has a positive effect on people suffering from depression.

Professor Roger Hagen, who is in NTNU’s Department of Psychology, says that it is not necessary for people who are depressed to worry and ruminate. A lot of depressed people feel this realization alone is liberating. Hagen and his associates have published a paper on treating depression with metacognitive therapy (MCT). This study, which has been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, shows that learning to decrease rumination benefits people who have symptoms of depression.

Depressed people can gain control over ruminative thoughts

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Many depressed people feel that their persistent ruminative thoughts are out of their control. However Hagen says depressed people can gain control over these thoughts. In the study after being treated with MCT 80 per cent of the participants had a full recovery from their diagnosis of depression after six months.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychiatric medications with their myriad of horrible side effects has become the primary recommended treatments for depression and anxiety. Patients analyze the content of their thoughts and raise questions about their validity. In metacognitive therapy there is a focus on decreasing the ruminative process.

There is a focus on the person's thinking processes instead of the thought content with MCT

In MCT there is a focus on the person's thinking processes instead of the thought content. Thinking too much, or depressive rumination, is experienced by depressed people. MCT assists people in decreasing negative thought processes while getting them under control. Patients are taught to become aware of what is happening when they begin to ruminate and to take control over their thoughts.

Hagen has explained that patients learn what is called "detached mindfulness" to deal with their thoughts. Patients are taught to perceive of their thoughts as simply being thoughts and not being a reflection of reality. Because someone had a thought that they are stupid that does not mean they are stupid.

According to Hagen the relapse rate with MCT is much lower than with mainstream treatments of depression. It is his hope that metacognitive therapy will eventually be accepted as the most common way for depression to be treated in Norway. Many professionals in Norway have been trained to use metacognitive therapy.

Significant improvements in depressive symptoms have been seen with metacognitive therapy. There have also been great improvements in comorbid disorders and symptoms with this therapy. MCT offers tremendous promise as a potentially effective treatment for depression. This approach is far more desirable than therapies which depend on the highly toxic arsenal of psychiatric drugs.