Combining psychotherapy with antidepressants doesn’t enhance outcomes in severely depressed sufferers
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Antidepressants are the first-choice remedy for extreme melancholy. Antidepressant use is usually supplemented by psychotherapy. Now a significant ongoing worldwide research has proven that including psychotherapy remedy to antidepressant treatment doesn’t enhance remedy outcomes in severely depressed sufferers. The research, offered on the European Congress of Psychiatry, additionally discovered that these sufferers with extreme melancholy who had been additionally handled with further psychotherapy tended to be youthful, extra usually employed, extra extremely educated, and have much less extreme preliminary melancholy than those that had been handled with antidepressant treatment completely.

Rates of medical melancholy have doubled within the final 30 years, with the WHO estimating that round 322 million individuals undergo worldwide. This is roughly equal to the overall populations of Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK mixed. Around a 3rd of extreme melancholy victims do not reply effectively to remedy; they’re ‘remedy resistant’, that means that clinicians must search for methods to enhance present therapies.

The new research carried out in European sufferers with main melancholy (clinically referred to as Major Depressive Disorder, MDD) handled underneath real-world circumstances has discovered that round 1 in 3 sufferers handled with antidepressant treatment additionally obtain psychotherapy – non-pharmacological remedy, the place sufferers focus on their situation with a professional physician or therapist. Around ¾ of those sufferers handled with each, antidepressant treatment and psychotherapy, underwent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Clinicians from the European Group for the Study of Resistant Depression, primarily based in Austria, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Israel, and Switzerland, studied the results of mixed remedy in 1279 severely depressed grownup sufferers. These sufferers had been handled appropriately with antidepressant treatment. 31.2% of these had gone on to obtain further psychotherapy. Those receiving further psychotherapy tended to be youthful, extra extremely educated, extra usually employed, and with a decrease suicide threat than these handled completely with antidepressant drugs. In addition, they skilled an earlier onset of extreme melancholy, extra migraines and bronchial asthma, and acquired decrease day by day doses of antidepressants than these handled completely with antidepressants. The severity of melancholy in every affected person was measured utilizing the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and the Montgomery and Åsberg Depression Rating Scale. The researchers discovered that the usage of further psychotherapy didn’t result in higher remedy outcomes.

Lead researcher, Prof. Siegfried Kasper MD (Medical University of Vienna) mentioned:

There are two details that comes out of our work. Firstly, you probably have been handled with antidepressants, further psychotherapy doesn’t appear to offer you higher remedy outcomes, although it might enhance your subjective well-being. The second level is that these sufferers affected by extreme melancholy and receiving further psychotherapy had extra favorable socio-demographic and medical traits than those that did not obtain further psychotherapy.

Our knowledge reveals that further psychotherapy tends to be given to extra highly-educated and more healthy sufferers, which can mirror the better availability of psychotherapy to extra socially and economically advantaged sufferers”.

Presenting the work on the European Congress of Psychiatry (EPA digital congress), researcher Dr Lucie Bartova (Medical University of Vienna) mentioned:

“Taking these results, and existing clinical guidelines, into account, we would recommend that clinicians and patients follow the recommended treatment paths to ensure the best care for them. If people have any doubts about treatment they should see their psychiatrist to agree how to move forward”.

In follow-up work, 292 depressed sufferers receiving Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is the really useful psychotherapeutic technique in extreme melancholy, had been in comparison with 107 sufferers handled with different psychotherapeutic methods reminiscent of psychoanalytic psychotherapy or systemic psychotherapy. The researchers discovered that there was no distinction in remedy final result.

Commenting, Dr Livia De Picker (University of Antwerp) mentioned:

Despite clinical guidelines and studies which advocate for psychotherapy and combining psychotherapy with antidepressants, this study shows that in real life no added value can be demonstrated for psychotherapy in those already treated with antidepressants for severe depression. This doesn’t necessarily mean that psychotherapy is not useful, but it is a clear sign that the way we are currently managing these depressed patients with psychotherapy is not effective and needs critical evaluation.”

This is an impartial remark; Dr De Picker was not concerned on this work.


Journal reference:

Bartova, L., et al. (2022) Combining psychopharmacotherapy and psychotherapy isn’t related to higher remedy final result in main depressive dysfunction – proof from the European Group for the Study of Resistant Depression. Journal of Psychiatric Research.

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