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Depression Patients Unresponsive to Medication Benefit From Talk Therapy

Update Date: Dec 07, 2012 11:25 AM EST

A study suggests that for those patients with depression who do not respond to medicines, perhaps a good counseling may be the answer.

Researchers say that talk therapy may benefit as a helpful supplemental treatment for depression patients, unable to benefit from medication.

Researchers from United Kingdom have apparently found that the benefits of talk therapy, when added with medication for such patients is three folds in reducing their symptoms when compared to those who took only antidepressants.

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According to the researchers, about two-thirds of depression patients don't respond fully to antidepressant treatment. The findings of the current study may prove beneficial in treating such patients.

"Until now, there was little evidence to help clinicians choose the best next step treatment for those patients whose symptoms do not respond to standard drug treatments," study researcher Nicola Wiles of the University of Bristol's Centre for Mental Health, Addiction and Suicide Research was quoted as saying by NBC news.

For the study, the researchers observed 470 patients for one year. But researchers say more studies need to be conducted in order to understand the long term effects of this treatment combination as depression patients tend to relapse after treatment.

Also, not all the patients responded well to this combination as well, hence an alternative treatment option needs to be found out for such patients, Wiles said.

The patients in this study had not responded to antidepressants after six weeks of treatment. For the research, half of the patients were given cognitive behavioral therapy while rest half were asked to continue the antidepressants alone without any talk therapy.

Six months later, the researchers found that about 46 percent of patients in the talk therapy group reduced their symptoms by 50 percent while only 22 percent of those who continued antidepressants alone improved as much.

However, by the end of the 12th month of continued treatment, both groups had achieved similar rates of improvement, the report said.

Talk therapy is often more difficult to access than medication and is not affordable for everyone, researchers said.

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