Health Magazine

Talk Therapy May Help Tough-to-treat Depression

By Michaelsweiss
People with long-lasting depression may benefit from talk therapy when other treatment methods such as antidepressant drugs alone aren't working, suggests a new study. But the topic needs more research, the authors say - and they also point out that talk therapy isn't accessible or affordable for everyone.
"About 15 million adults in America suffer from major depressive disorder - serious cases of depression that last more than two weeks - in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Most people who are diagnosed with major depressive disorder get prescribed an antidepressant rather than going straight into talk therapy, explained Dr. Ranak Trivedi, the lead author on the current study from the University of Washington School of Public Health.  But up to half of those people might not feel any better after they start taking the medication, she said."
"Talk therapy costs more than medication, at least in the short term. And insurance companies often put limits on reimbursements (although new rules issued by the Obama administration are intended to improve coverage of mental health care for people whose insurance comes through their employers)."
"But Trivedi said that in the long run, talk therapy may well be worth it. "People who take antidepressants often end up taking them for life," she said. With talk therapy, patients often go for a few months, or sometimes a few years, and then stop when their symptoms have gone away."
Link To Full Article
An interesting article written by Genevra Pittman for Reuters Health on January 13, 2011 that examines the the use of medication and talk therapy in the treatment of depression.  I find it a little frightening that most patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder in this country are prescribed anti-depressants(sometimes several different medications when patients don't respond to their first anti-depressant drug) before they are referred to some form of talk therapy.
The article explains that Dr. Trivedi's research "suggests that talk therapy may be promising for people who don't get better on medication - but they also reflect the fact that many more studies are needed."  While psychotropic medications can be important tools for treating several forms of mental illness, they aren't the only answer.  These widely prescribed drugs are strong medications that produce lasting changes in brain chemistry and cause serious side effects(many of which end up being treated with even more medication).  It's baffling to me how readily these psychotropic medications are dispensed to patients before considering a more benign treatment option such as talk therapy.  Unforunately, it is unlikely that any research showing the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions will be widely reported while the pharmaceutical companies continue to provide millions of dollars of "support" to mainstream media, government agencies, and major organizations like the American Psychiatry Association.

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