CBT and antidepressants 'equally effective' for major depression

Posted on February 25, 2016

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Treatments for MDD (Major Depression Disorder) include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and second-generation antidepressants (SGAs), but primary care physicians, usually the first port of call for patients with depression, often start by prescribing SGAs.

CBT combines cognitive and behavioral therapy. It focuses on changing a person's thoughts and beliefs and their impact on mood and actions. This can reduce unhealthy behavior patterns and help the individual to become healthier and more adaptive. In minor and moderate depression, CBT can help to restructure negative thought patterns, to recognize the source of depression and to change the actions that exacerbate it.

In the new guideline, the American College of Physicians (ACP) summarize and grade evidence comparing the effectiveness and safety of non-drug treatments and SGAs, alone or in combination, for MDD in adults.

Moderate-quality evidence reflected similar levels of both effectiveness and discontinuation rates for CBT and SGAs. Low-quality evidence revealed little difference between SGAs and non-drug treatments in terms of effectiveness and adverse effects as a first-line treatment.

If taking SGAs does not improve a patient's condition, low-quality evidence indicates that switching to another drug, adding another drug or adding or switching to non-drug therapy all have a similar effect as second-line treatment.

Category(s):Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Depression, Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Source material from Annals of Internal Medicine