How Effective the Combination of Antidepressants & CBT for Treating Depression?

How Effective the Combination of Antidepressants & CBT for Treating Depression?

July 26, 2020 by Prasad Amore0
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Anti-depressants medication is the most commonly used treatment for depression. Even though medication brings good results, new research suggests that treating depression solo approach is not better. Given such findings, how can we decide which method should be used for a particular individual?

Most of the clients are getting pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy, and only a minority of patients are getting a combined therapy. Only patients with severe and chronic cases receive combined treatment. The researchers point out that combined treatment is also beneficial in mild cases. Because the two treatments’ effects seem to be independent of each other, this approach is also helpful for mild depression.

Study 1: Paula Young, head of the Institute at North Western University’s cognitive behavioral therapy department, examined this topic in a recent report. The study focused on evidence-based psychotherapy, known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is beneficial when used alone or in combination with antidepressants in the treatment of depression. Patients were trained to acquire some specific skills to resolve their problems. In this study, patients were randomly assigned to provide either antidepressant medications alone or antidepressants combined with CBT. The recovery rate of patients who received combination therapy was better than for those who received medication alone (73.6% vs. 63.5%). This difference was particularly pronounced for patients who had severe and recurrent depressions (82% vs. 52%).

Study 2: Pim Cuijpers, Marit Sijbrandi, and Charles F Reynolds conducted a meta-analysis of randomized trials. This analysis studied the effectiveness of treatment with antidepressant medication were compared to the result obtaining in combined therapy in depressive disorder treatment. In this study, it was found that the combined treatment of CBT and depressant medications is very effective than treatment with antidepressant medication alone. In panic disorder treatment, also the same difference has occurred. The same results were found in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders. The superiority of combined treatment was statistically significant.

Study 3: Dunlop BW, LoParo D, Kinkead B, et al. attempted to assess sequential combinational therapy’s acute and long term effects of CBT and antidepressant treatment in adults who struggle with the mild depression. Out of 112 patients who underwent combination therapy, 54 (48.2%) achieved cure: 54.1% of the CBT plus drug group, and 45.1% of the medication plus CBT group. It was demonstrated Regardless of the order, the concurrent application of CBT or antidepressant medication to treat patients who have not achieved recovery on monotherapy alone is an essential approach to avoid relapse or recurrence of depression in this population.

However, some researchers found that the effects of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are mostly independent. There is no interfering with each other. Both of them are contributing equally to the effects of combined treatment.

In summary, it is found that those superior effects of combined treatment over pharmacotherapy alone are significant and relevant up to ten months after surgery. These research studies supported the use of combined therapy for mental disorders than monotherapy.

Prasad Amore

Prasad Amore is a Licensed Rehab. Psychologist by RCI, Govt. of India. The 2nd Indian who has achieved the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma through National Qualification Framework of British Government. He is a psychological consultant and trainer helping individuals suffering with mental health issues and other psychological problems. He is a freelance writer and authored 5 books in Psychology and Social Science.


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