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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Research Suggests Mindfulness Reduces Bipolar Relapse

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 8th 2010

Those who struggle with Bipolar Disorder understand that there are high rates of relapse and that symptoms often come with others such as heightened anxiety. In previous posts I've discussed ways of Getting Unstuck from the Cycle of Bipolar Disorder,  and the effects of misdiagnosing Bipolar Disorder, among others. Many of you who follow my blog posts find that I have an interest in the applications of mindfulness to the joys and sorrows of everyday life. I thought it important to bring up exciting new research that has found that a structured application of mindfulness has shown help with relapse into depressive and anxious episodes.

In a recent study, Williams, et al. (2008) randomly divided people with bipolar disorder in remission into two groups. One group received Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and the other was a waitlist group. The results showed that those who received MBCT showed reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Why is this important for people who have bipolar disorder?

Often times what tips someone into an episode of depression, hypomania, or mania is often some precursor of anxiety or initial symptoms of depression. So if these can be balanced when someone is in remission, the idea is that it can reduce the propensity to actually be tipped into hypomania/mania or depression.

Now, this is initial research, it was done with a small group, but it is absolutely encourage and suggestive that becoming more present to our daily lives and having real practices to ground our minds when they are revving in an upward or downward spiral can be enormously helpful.

In addition, these practices cultivate attitudes of kindness, non-judgment, compassion, and letting things be. These are all attitudes that lead to greater self-acceptance and self-love which couldn't hurt when most of us spend so much time judging and being harsh with ourselves.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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