lau-2008Lau M.A. (2008) New developments in psychosocial interventions for adults with unipolar depression. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 21-1:30-36


Purpose of review: Depression treatment guidelines typically recommend cognitive behavioral therapy and/or interpersonal therapy for the acute treatment of mild-moderate depression. However, several new developments support an expanded role for psychotherapy in depression treatment. This article summarizes recent psychotherapy efficacy studies across the depression treatment continuum and the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in community settings.

Recent findings: New psychotherapies in the acute treatment of mild-moderate depression include emotion-focused therapy, self-system therapy, cognitive control training and positive psychotherapy. Furthermore, emerging evidence supports the use of psychotherapy for moderate-severe and treatment-resistant depression and for recurrent depression with a seasonal pattern. An important area of growth is the development and evaluation of continuation/maintenance treatments based on cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy to reduce depressive relapse risk in recurrent and chronic depression. Finally, there is evidence supporting the effectiveness of stepped care, chronic disease management and collaborative care models in community settings.

Summary: Emerging evidence supports an expanded role for the use of psychosocial interventions as acute and continuation/maintenance treatments for unipolar depression. Although further research is required to replicate these findings, a remaining challenge is to increase the availability of these treatments to the mental health consumer.


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