Patients that have depression and fail to see benefits from taking antidepressant medication might be helped by also receiving a type of therapy called CBT, says new research that was published last Friday.

Following a large-scale trial that tested the effectiveness of CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, alongside medications designed for depression, researchers said they have determined that combining the two works when just treatment with drugs failed.

The lead researcher of the study has said that the findings underscore the need to make therapy for patients who are depressed more available. While initiatives have been started to increase CBT’s access in the UK, initiatives worldwide have been rare, said researchers.

Scientists recruited over 465 patients from all across the UK who were not responding to six week of treatment with medications for depression. In the study, 235 of the patients continued with the same antidepressant medication, 234 were given their same medication and CBT, and a follow up was done 12 months later.

Results showed that following 6 months, 46% of the patients who were given CBT together with their medication had improved, reporting that their depression had dropped by up to 50%. That was compared to only 22% of the patients who said the same thing and were taking just medication and not CBT as well.

Major depression causes problems for up to 20% of the population at some time during their lives. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020 the condition will rival that of heart disease as the disorder with the highest burden globally.


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