Comparison of Antidepressants and Therapy

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Does cognitive-behavioral therapy work just as well as antidepressants when treating depression? How we perceive our depression is what helps to determine the type of treatment necessary. Antidepressants treat the common symptoms of depression rather than the condition while therapy helps change the thought process so the disease is cured in the end. Many studies are done to provide necessary information to what the answer to this question should be. The following articles provided studies that explained the effects of treatment with medication, with therapy, or a combination of both.

Reviews of research on psychotherapy versus antidepressants with evidence supported methods were used. WebPages along with the reading of numerous studies were used in order to identify all possible information. The articles were reviewed as well as surveys and meta-analysis. It was shown that each article I critiqued used only adult patients and the results show that evidence was provided from a substantial number of randomized clinical trials that each provided the same result of cognitive therapy being the cure for depression and antidepressants being quick symptom relief.

Antonuccio, Danton, DeNelsky hypothesizes that cognitive behavioral therapy is at least as effective as medication in treatment of depression, even if severe. It reviews a wide range of well-controlled studies comparing psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression. The study split cognitive behavioral therapy into three subtypes and a study was done with each type. The three subtypes of cognitive behavioral therapy were pleasant activity therapy, cognitive therapy, and social skills therapy. Pleasant activity therapy involves helping patients increase their occurrence and quality of pleasant activities. Though there were no studies on this therapy alone. However a study was conducted using 97 patients that were randomly assigned to one of the three psychological therapies combined with amitriptyline (150 mg/day) or a placebo for a 2 month period. A total of 64 patients completed treatment and the results were as follows pleasant activity therapy plus placebo was just as effective as it was with the antidepressant. For cognitive therapy its focus was to address the thought process depressed patients experienced when trying to tell themselves what happens rather than what actually happens and to mediate the impact of events in patient’s lives. This study consisted of 12 weeks of cognitive therapy plus nortriptyline, or cognitive therapy plus active placebo for 87 randomly assigned moderate to severely depressed psychiatric outpatients. Of these 87 outpatients 70 patients completed the study and the result was that cognitive therapy alone was as effective as notriptyline, and there was no addictive effect of the combined treatments. The study also consisted of drawing blood samples every other week to ensure that plasma nortriptyline levels were in target window of 50-150 ng/ml. Of the 70 patients the 44 recovered patients were followed for a year after treatment termination. The end result was that patients who received cognitive therapy with or without nortriptyline were less likely to relapse. The study also provided that patients were more likely to relapse with medication alone. The last of the subtypes was social skills therapy which addresses the patient’s problems with social interaction in the community and in the home. This study focused on 178 depressed outpatients each being treated with 10 weeks of insight-oriented dynamic psychotherapy, behavior therapy emphasizing social skills, the antidepressant amitriptyline (150 mg/day), or a relaxation control condition. On two random visits during the treatment period unannounced blood samples were drawn to ensure they were obedient. On 9 out of 10 outcomes at the end of treatment and 7 out of 10 measures on the 3 month follow up it showed behavior therapy to be superior. During a 27 month follow up...
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