ACT on Health

  • ACT on Health logo with sunlight
  • Studies

    We are currently studying the efficacy of one-day acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) workshops in people suffering from depression and migraine. We are also looking into treatments involving biofeedback.

    Brief Behavioral Intervention for Comorbid Migraine and Depression

    In this study we are interested in efficacy of a one-day group workshop that combines acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) with illness management.

    Some outcomes of interest are:

    • Depression
    • Migraine quality of life
    • General functioning

    The importance of this study:

    • Migraine affects 35 million people in the United States. For 90 percent of these people, migraine interferes with education, career, and social activity. In addition, depression occurs in over 30 percent of migraineurs. When migraine and depression co-occur it leads to a worsening in migraine symptoms, poorer response to treatment, increased risk of suicide, increased disability, and lower overall quality of life.
    • For many migraineurs, traditional treatment options are often insufficient. Thus the development of new treatment options is essential in helping those suffering from chronic migraine lead more fulfilling lives. It is hoped that an effective one-day intervention can increase adherence and completion for those without nearby access to care, or for those unable to commit a large portion of time to treatment.

    Biofeedback on Quality of Life

    In this study we are looking at biofeedback devices that measure heart rate variability and help guide the patient's breathing to alter their heart rate. It is our hope that, once learned, these breathing exercises can be used to help with pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and improve overall health and quality of life.

    The goal of this biofeedback device is to guide patients from a state of heart rate incoherence to coherence.

    negative emotions wavepositive emotions wave

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Primary Care

    In this study we are interested in efficacy of a one-day group workshop that combines acceptance and commitment training (ACT) with illness management in those with comorbid vascular risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and excess weight) and depression/anxiety symptoms.

    Some outcomes of interest are:

    • Depression and anxiety symptoms
    • Vascular health
    • Quality of life
    • General functioning

    Importance of study:

    Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the world. A large percentage of those with cardiovascular disease suffer from depression and/or anxiety. Studies have shown that the presence of depression and anxiety symptoms can have adverse effects on heart health. Also, the onset of heart disease can lead to an increase in depression/anxiety symptoms—even in those without prior history. Because of this bidirectional relationship, it is important to create behavioral interventions that can address both vascular risk factors as well as depression and anxiety symptoms.