Are Psychosocial Forms Of Therapy As Effective In The Treatment Of Moderate To Severe Forms Of Depression As Antidepressant Medications

3940 words - 16 pages

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Depression affects about 7% to 18% of the population at some point in their lives (Bland, 1997) and there is evidence that the overall prevalence of depression is rising despite increased use of antidepressants (Moncrieff & Kirsch, 2005). Several forms of psychosocial therapy have shown to be successful options for treating moderate to severe depression. However, whether psychosocial treatments are as effective as medications has long been debated between the psychiatric and psychological communities. Psychiatrists are traditionally considered to support medication treatments, while clinical psychologists are viewed as advocates of psychotherapy (Eells, 1999). Antidepressant medications are the most common form of treatment for major... View More »

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The value of cognitive-behaviour therapy especially has been reviewed extensively by both psychiatric and psychological journals, and recent studies show it may have significant advantages over antidepressant medications (Tang et al., 2007). Cognitive-behaviour therapy is based on the idea that depression is maintained by an individual’s dysfunctional thinking styles and consequent maladaptive behaviours (Richards & Perri, 2002). There is substantial evidence that cognitive-behaviour therapy is most effective in reducing relapse and recurrence in depression. For example, a study by Hollon et al. (2005) found that patients with moderate to severe depression withdrawn from 12 months of cognitive-behaviour therapy were significantly less likely to relapse than were patients withdrawn from 12 months of medication treatment. This suggests that cognitive-behaviour therapy has an enduring effect that extends beyond the end of treatment (Hollon et al., 2005). Proposed explanations for this enduring effect are that cognitive-behaviour therapy reduces the dysfunctional attitudes or assumptions of the depressed patient (Beck et al., 1983), or that it may change the way they process depression-related material (Teasdale, 2001).
There is increasing evidence that cognitive-behaviour therapy may be equally as effective as pharmacotherapy in treating moderate to severe depression. A comprehensive meta-analysis of the current psychosocial treatments by Antonuccio et al. (1995) concluded that cognitive-behaviour therapy is at least as effective as medication in the treatment of depression, ...

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