Spiritual retreat: can lower depression, raise hope in heart patients.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Heart attack (Risk factors)
Heart attack (Research)
Cardiac patients (Health aspects)
Depression, Mental (Risk factors)
Depression, Mental (Research)
Pub Date: 09/22/2011
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Fall-Winter, 2011 Source Volume: 14 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 277270185
Full Text: Attending a non-denominational spiritual retreat can help patients with severe heart trouble feel less depressed and more hopeful about the future, a University of Michigan Health System study has found.

Heart patients who participated in a four-day retreat that included techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, drumming, journal writing, and outdoor activities saw immediate improvement in tests measuring depression and hopefulness. Those improvements persisted at three-and six-month follow-up measurements.

The study was the first randomized clinical trial to demonstrate an intervention that raises hope in patients with acute coronary syndrome, a condition that includes chest pain and heart attack. Previous research has shown that hope and its opposite, hopelessness, have an impact on how patients face uncertain futures.

"The study shows that a spiritual retreat like the Medicine for the Earth program can jumpstart and help to maintain a return to psycho-spiritual well-being," says study lead author Sara Warber, M.D., associate professor of family medicine at the U-M Medical School and director of U-M's Integrative Medicine program. "These types of interventions may be of particular interest to patients who do not want to take antidepressants for the depression symptoms that often accompany coronary heart disease and heart attack."

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The findings were published in the July issue of Explore: the Journal of Science and Healing.
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