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Talking therapies reduces symptoms of depression

7th December 2012

New research has indicated that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can reduce symptoms of depression in people who fail to respond to drug treatment.

depression

With up to two thirds of people with depression not responding to anti-depressants the study, published in The Lancet, has been welcomed by mental health charity Mind.

Chief executive Paul Farmer said: “We welcome this research because it recognises that patients should have the right to a wide range of treatment options based on individual needs.”

The study followed 469 patients with treatment-resistant depression from GP practices in Bristol, Exeter and Glasgow over a year with one group continuing with their usual GP care, which could include anti-depressant medication, while the second group was also treated with CBT.

After six months, researchers found 46% of those who had received CBT reported at least a 50% reduction in their symptoms, compared with 22% experiencing the same reduction in the other group.

Chris Williams, professor of psychosocial psychiatry at the University of Glasgow, and part of the research team, said the findings confirm psychological and physical approaches can complement each other.

“It was also encouraging because we found the approach worked to good effect across a wide range of people of different ages and living in a variety of settings,” added Professor Williams.

However, Dr Nicola Wiles from the Centre for Mental Health, Addiction and Suicide Research at the University of Bristol said it was important to invest in other research to find alternative treatments for patients whose symptoms have not responded to treatment with anti-depressants.

 

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