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When Antidepressants Don't Work, Give Counseling a Try
Date:12/7/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- People suffering from depression who don't respond to antidepressants alone may find relief if they also undergo cognitive behavioral therapy, a new British study suggests.

Many of the two-thirds of those with depression who do not respond fully to antidepressants are three times more likely to improve with cognitive behavioral therapy, the researchers report.

"When people with depression have not responded to treatment with antidepressants, receiving cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to continuing on medication as part of usual care, reduces depressive symptoms and improves quality of life," said lead researcher Nicola Wiles, a senior lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Bristol.

The finding emphasizes the importance of investing more in psychological services, she said.

"In many countries, access to cognitive behavioral therapy is limited to those who can afford it. Even in the U.K., where there has been substantial investment in psychological services, many people who have not responded to antidepressants still do not receive more intensive psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy that takes 12 to 18 sessions," Wiles said.

"By investing in psychological services, it is possible to reduce the significant burden to patients that is associated with non-response to the most common treatment for depression," she added.

According to the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists, cognitive behavioral therapy, unlike other so-called talk therapy, "is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel and act better even if the situation does not change."

The report was published online Dec. 7 in The Lancet.

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