The metacognitive “stop and think” training promises to improve emotional management among depressed patients.

According to a new study, cognitive training interventions improve aspects of emotional regulation in patients with severe depression. Behavioral research and therapy.

Although the emotional damage of major depressive disorder is known, the condition is associated with a variety of cognitive deficits, including memory, processing speed, attention, and executive function. Previous studies have shown that improving cognitive function can help improve the symptoms of depression. The authors of the current study were interested in learning more about potential cognitive training programs that could help.

“As a neuropsychologist, I am interested in cognitive functions and their relationship to emotional health,” said Jan Egil Stubberud, an associate professor of clinical neuropsychology at the University of Oslo.

“Emotional regulation and cognitive deficits are common and major complaints in depression. However, these processes are not satisfactory with current treatments. I wanted to explore the potential for improvement.

The study included 60 participants aged 18–60 years who were diagnosed with mild or moderate major depressive disorder and reported executive dysfunction in daily life.

Half of the participants were randomly assigned to complete a goal management training, which included exercises to facilitate planning, organization, and goal setting. The training also included a self-monitoring approach (“stop and think”), in which participants were encouraged to reflect on the current situation and to periodically stop ongoing behaviors to identify negative automatic thinking processes.

The other half of the participants were instructed to complete a computerized cognitive training that included intensive procedural training tasks aimed at improving basic cognitive functions such as attention, memory, and processing speed.

Participants completed validated assessments of meditation and emotional regulation prior to treatment, immediately after treatment, and 6 months after treatment.

Researchers have found that romance has declined significantly over time. Both those who completed the goal management training and those who completed the computerized cognitive training reported signs of less thinking after the intervention.

The rejection of emotional responses, the aspect of emotional regulation, has improved over time for both groups. However, only intervention in Goal Management training is associated with improved emotional clarity, that is, the extent to which people are able to identify the emotions they are experiencing.

“Because of the interaction between cognitive function and emotional regulation, our findings show that there is great potential to complement other therapeutic interventions with cognitive remediation techniques,” Stubberud told PsyPost. “In balance, addressing cognitive (dys) functions can help patients with depression benefit more from cognitively demanding treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.”

The researchers noted that the improvement in emotional clarity was observed 6 months after the end of the intervention. “The main aspects of GMT are the use of metacognitive“ stop and think ”strategy, in addition to the practice of rational methods and monitoring of performance in real life situations. We believe that these elements are critical to making long-term changes in the regulation of emotions observed after GMT, ”Stubberud and colleagues wrote in their study.

Preliminary findings are an important step for future research. “Future studies should include a control group that does not receive intervention and / or placebo intervention,” Stubberud explained. “Critically, current findings need to be cross-checked in a larger and more representative depression pattern, especially given the small sample size.”

“Studies on depression have identified cognitive processes that play an important role in the onset and maintenance of depression, and our findings show the potential for cognitive remission to reduce the regulation of adaptive emotions in depression,” Stubberud added.

Research, “Emotional regulation in post-cognitive remission depression: a randomized controlled trial,” J.A. Stubberud, R. Хустер, К. Хоорелбеке, А. Hammar and BI Hagenb.

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