April 18, 2005

Anti-Depression Therapy

This bit of news is more directed to the family members (parents, spouses and siblings of people with schizophrenia) than for those people actually suffering from schizophrenia.

From reading the messages in our discussion boards of the parents, spouses and siblings of people who have schizophrenia it becomes obvious that depression is a common challenge. Many people speak of using anti-depressants and note that they help a great deal in their daily coping.

Another option - a type of talk therapy called "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy" has just been proven as effective (and much more long-lasting) than anti-depressant medications. The downside, however, is that that cognitive therapy costs more in the short term.

In this recent study, reported on in "The Economist Magazine" in an article titled "Talk is Cheap" it noted:

"Robert DeRubeis of the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues ... have conducted the largest clinical trial ever designed to compare talk therapy with chemical antidepressants. The result, just published in Archives of General Psychiatry, is that talking works as well as pills do. Indeed, it works better, if you take into account the lower relapse rate."

Specifically, in the study, "A year after treatments ended, only 31% of those who had received it had relapsed into their former state, while 76% of those who had been given antidepressants, and then been taken off them, had done so. Even patients who stayed on antidepressants for the intervening year did not do any better than those who had taken cognitive therapy and then quit."

Again - while this is interesting and potentially relevant for family members, it seems less relevant for people with schizophrenia who may have other cognitive challenges that could prevent cognitive behavioral therapy from being effective - at least until the schizophrenia was well-controlled via medications.

See the full story: Talk is Cheap

More Information: Other Treatments

Other resources: Book - Feeling Good, By Dr. David Burns


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