研究:反刍式思考会导致抑郁症加重 元认知疗法或能提供帮助

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根据一项新研究,一旦人们有了抑郁症状,就很容易陷入一种模式,即通过反刍式思考(ruminative thinking)来使这种疾病恶化。其中一个关键问题是所谓的消极元认知(negative metacognitions)。

研究:反刍式思考会导致抑郁症加重 元认知疗法或能提供帮助

挪威科技大学(NTNU)心理学系教授、这项研究的主要导师Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair说:“元思维--或元认知--是我们对自己所想的想法的思考。”

Helse Bergen HF的心理学家和第一作者Helene Pedersen解释说:“对我们自己的思维有想法,而我们或多或少地意识到这一点是很常见的。”

关于我们自己思维的想法本身并不有害。对我们自己思维的积极想法可以引导我们更经常地反思我们想要反思的话题,甚至可能更喜欢。但这对一些人来说可能会出问题。

研究人员最近在《BMC精神病学》杂志上发表了一项关于该主题的新研究结果。

研究:反刍式思考会导致抑郁症加重 元认知疗法或能提供帮助

例如,消极的元认知可以认为抑郁性沉思是我们受伤害的标志,或者我们可能认为我们的沉思是不可控制的。对于一些人来说,这种反刍式思考会产生难以摆脱的想法。这些想法可能很快导致陷入一个自我强化的消极模式中。

“只有当我们对自己的思维有很多这样的负面想法时,才是一个问题,我们会陷入一种不幸的思维模式,这可能很难停止,”Pedersen说。

但是Kennair提供了鼓励。“我们不是弱者或受损的货物,学会你实际上可以控制自己的忧虑,可以通过元认知疗法很快完成。”

所以幸运的是,有一些方法也许可以帮助抑郁症患者。

研究:反刍式思考会导致抑郁症加重 元认知疗法或能提供帮助

女孩更容易受到伤害

抑郁症状和抑郁症在年轻人中很常见。女孩比男孩更经常有这些症状,也更经常有抑郁症的诊断。

NTNU的一项新调查包括了近1200名16至20岁的人。女孩和成年女性在所有方面的得分都较高,包括抑郁症状。她们在以下方面的得分也较高:积极的元认知,或认为反刍是有帮助的想法,以及对自己想法的消极元认知上都得分较高。一般来说,女孩和成年女性的反刍式思考更多。

在这里研究人员发现明显的性别差异。但一些人陷入抑郁想法的原因对男女都是一样的。

“我们发现,持续的抑郁症状的主要原因是消极的元思维和沉思,这适用于男女两性,而且不分年龄,”Kennair说。

元认知疗法可以提供帮助

研究人员表示,变得更好包括克服自我强化的模式、想法和行动。

Kennair教授说:“我们相信,元认知疗法在治疗年轻人的抑郁症状方面也可以是一种有效的治疗方法。”

Pedersen说,元认知疗法的重点是改变维持抑郁症疾病的因素:抑郁症的沉思和对我们自己思维的消极想法。

“沉思和消极的元认知既可以是抑郁症状的诱发因素,也可以是维持因素。因此,专注于这一点对于预防抑郁症可能是有用的,”心理学家和共同作者Ingrid Grønnæss说。

她说:“这种疗法使我们既能帮助已经出现日益严重的抑郁症状的人,又能防止其他人出现这种症状。”

元认知疗法是由曼彻斯特大学的Adrian Wells开发的一种新的治疗形式,其主要目标是中止消极的思维过程,改变对这种担忧和反刍的元认知。

"Meta-thinking-- or metacognition-- is how we think about what we think," said Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, a professor in the department of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the lead mentor of the study.

Helene Pedersen, a psychologist and lead author of Helse Bergen HF, explained: "it is common for us to have ideas about our own thinking, and we are more or less aware of this."

The idea of our own thinking is not harmful in itself. Positive thoughts about our own thinking can lead us to reflect more often on the topics we want to reflect on, perhaps even more like it. But this can be a problem for some people.

The researchers recently published a new study on the subject in the journal BMC Psychiatry.

For example, negative metacognition can think that depressive meditation is a sign of injury, or we may think that our meditation is uncontrollable. For some people, this kind of ruminant thinking can lead to thoughts that are hard to get rid of. These thoughts can quickly lead to a self-reinforcing negative pattern.

"it's only a problem when we have a lot of such negative thoughts about our thinking, and we fall into an unfortunate mindset, which can be hard to stop," Pedersen said.

But Kennair offers encouragement. "We are not weak or damaged goods. Learn that you can actually control your worries, which can be done quickly through metacognitive therapy."

So fortunately, there are some ways to help people with depression.

Girls are more vulnerable.

Depressive symptoms and depression are common among young people. Girls have these symptoms more often than boys and have a more frequent diagnosis of depression.

A new NTNU survey included nearly 1200 people between the ages of 16 and 20. Girls and adult women scored higher in all aspects, including depressive symptoms. They also scored higher on positive metacognition, or thinking that rumination is helpful, and negative metacognition of their own thoughts. Generally speaking, girls and adult women think more ruminantly.

Here the researchers found significant gender differences. But the reason why some people fall into depression is the same for both men and women.

"We found that the main causes of persistent depressive symptoms are negative meta-thinking and meditation, which applies to both sexes, regardless of age," Kennair said.

Metacognitive therapy can help.

Getting better includes overcoming self-reinforcing patterns, ideas and actions, the researchers say.

Professor Kennair said: "We believe that metacognitive therapy can also be an effective treatment for depressive symptoms in young people."

Pedersen says metacognitive therapy focuses on changing the factors that sustain depression: depressed contemplation and negative thoughts about our own thinking.

"contemplation and negative metacognition can be both inducing and maintaining factors for depressive symptoms. Therefore, focusing on this may be useful in preventing depression, "says psychologist and co-author Ingrid Gr ø nn æ ss.

"this treatment allows us to help people who are already suffering from growing depressive symptoms and to prevent them from occurring in others," she said. "

Metacognitive therapy is a new form of treatment developed by Adrian Wells of the University of Manchester. Its main goal is to stop the negative thought process and change the metacognition of worry and ruminating.

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