Which treatments are effective for acute major depressive disorder and for the prevention of relapse and recurrence?

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

Hollon and Ponniah [5] reviewed the literature to identify treatments that met Chambless and Hollon’s [102] criteria for empirically supported treatments. Their findings for the treatment of acute major depressive disorder are presented below.

Table. (Open Table in a new window)

level of support

Therapy

Efficacious and specific

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)

Problem-solving therapy (PST)

Behavioral activation (BA)/contingency management

Possibly efficacious

Dynamic psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral analysis system for psychotherapy (CBASP)

Emotion-focused therapy (EFT)

Note: Adapted from Hollon & Ponniah [5] , p. 925.

Hollon and Ponniah [5] also identified empirically supported treatments for the prevention of relapse and recurrence.

Table. (Open Table in a new window)

level of support

Therapy

Efficacious and specific

Prior CBT to prevent relapse

Efficacious

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to prevent relapse/recurrence

Possibly efficacious

Prior dynamic psychotherapy to prevent recurrence

Maintenance IPT to prevent recurrence

Continuation cognitive therapy (CT) to prevent relapse/recurrence

Maintenance CBASP to prevent recurrence

EFT to prevent relapse

Note: Adapted from Hollon & Ponniah [5] , p. 925.

A brief description of treatments listed as efficacious and specific or efficacious is presented below.


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