Adverse or therapeutic? A mixed-methods study investigating adverse effects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in bipolar disorder

Imke Hanssen, Vera Scheepbouwer, Marloes Huijbers, Eline Regeer, Marc Lochmann van Bennekom, Ralph Kupka, Anne Speckens

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Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) are widely used in clinical and non-clinical populations, but little attention has been given to potential adverse effects (AEs). Aims This study aimed to gain insight in the prevalence and course of AEs during Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for patients with bipolar disorder (BD). Method The current mixed-methods study was conducted as part of a RCT on (cost-) effectiveness of MBCT in 144 patients with BD (Trial registered on 25th of April 2018,, NCT03507647). During MBCT, occurrence of AEs was monitored prospectively, systematically, and actively (n = 72). Patients who reported AEs were invited for semi-structured interviews after completing MBCT (n = 29). Interviews were analysed with directed content analysis, using an existing framework by Lindahl et al. Results AEs were reported by 29 patients, in seven of whom the experiences could not be attributed to MBCT during the interview. AEs were reported most frequently up to week 3 and declined afterwards. Baseline anxiety appeared to be a risk factor for developing AEs. Seven existing domains of AEs were observed: cognitive, perceptual, affective, somatic, conative, sense of self, and social. Influencing factors were subdivided into predisposing, precipitating,

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0259167
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

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