Treatment of Depression: Psychotherapy vs. Medication
RDA is collaborating with researchers in Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences on evaluating depression scales used to determine the efficacy of psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. The standard scales alone did not work. Research Design Associates used factor analysis and item response theory to create scales that measured meaningful factors. The finding was that although the medications produced quicker improvement in depression, there were no significant differences among treatment conditions by the end of the 12 weeks of treatment.
Dunlop, B.W., Cole, S.P., Nemeroff, C.B., Mayberg, H.S., & Craighead, W.E. (2018). Differential change on depressive symptom factors with antidepressant medication and cognitive behavior therapy for major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 229, 111-119.
In a complex follow-up study, RDA and colleagues demonstrated that patients with major depression who do not respond to one treatment modality may respond better to an alternative treatment. Addition of an antidepressant medication can be effective in treating patients who do not improve with psychotherapy and psychotherapy can be effective in treating patients who do not improve with an antidepressant. The order in which psychotherapy and medication were sequentially combined did not affect outcomes.