Are effective treatments available for major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

A wide range of effective treatments is available for major depressive disorder. Medication alone (see Medication) and brief psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy) alone can relieve depressive symptoms. There is also empirical support for the ability of brief psychotherapy (CBT) to prevent relapse.

In children and adolescents, however, pharmacotherapy by itself is insufficient treatment. Moreover, in all patient populations, the combination of medication and psychotherapy generally provides the quickest and most sustained response. Combination therapy has also been associated with significantly higher rates of improvement in depressive symptoms; increased quality of life; and better treatment compliance, especially when treatment is needed for longer than 3 months. [3, 4]


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