August 23, 2014
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Study: Cognitive behavioural therapy may be as effective as medication

While people with moderate-to-severe depression are often initially treated with antidepressant medications, a study published in General Psychiatry provides further evidence of the benefits of a type of therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy, which aims to change a patient's negative thought patterns, without drug therapy.

"It appears that cognitive behavioral therapy can be as effective as medications," write the study's authors.

In the study, which included 240 people with moderate-to-severe depression, half were treated with the antidepressant medication paroxetine (Paxil) along with either lithium or the tricyclic antidepressant desipramine, if needed. Of the remaining 120, half received a placebo and half participated in cognitive therapy but received no medication.

After 16 weeks, the researchers found the cognitive therapy to be as effective as the medication, but with a lower rate of relapse. But they noted that the effectiveness of psychotherapy may vary according to the experience or expertise of the psychotherapist.

Other studies have also pointed to the benefits of exercise at relieving symptoms of depression.


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