Retreat may help ease heart disease-related depression

Retreat may help ease heart disease-related depression

People who have serious heart disease and are feeling depressed about the future may benefit from something medicine can’t offer — a non-denominational spiritual retreat, a University of Michigan Health System study found.

Researchers found heart patients who participated in a four-day retreat with meditation, guided imagery, drumming, journal writing and outdoor activities had immediate improvements in depression and hopefulness. And they stayed better in three-month and six-month follow-ups.

This kind of intervention may be helpful for patients who don’t want to take antidepressants for the depression that can come with heart disease or a heart attack, said lead study author Dr. Sara Warber, a family medicine professor at U-M Medical School.

The study was published in the July issue of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

Source: University of Michigan news release

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