COMMENTARY

Improving Quality of Life in Depression

Peter M. Yellowlees, MBBS, MD

Disclosures

February 16, 2017

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This is the Medscape Psychiatry Minute. I'm Dr Peter Yellowlees. Several meta-analyses have shown that psychotherapy is effective for reducing depressive symptom severity. However, the impact on quality of life is as yet unknown. Now a team of investigators[1] from the University of Amsterdam, Holland, have undertaken a meta-analysis of 44 randomized clinical trials comparing psychotherapy for depressed adults with a control group in order to investigate the effectiveness of psychotherapy for depression on quality of life. The researchers found a small to moderate effect size for global quality of life, a moderate effect size for the mental health component, and a small but statistically significant effect size for the physical health component, and concluded that psychotherapy for depression does have a positive impact on the quality of life of patients with depression.

So, why should we be interested in this study? The answer is primarily because quality of life is very important for our patients, in that it relates to levels of functional disability. And from a patients' perspective, the measurement of quality of life is perhaps more important than many of the traditional diagnosis or disease-specific measures of, say, depression, that we typically use in medical research. In short, quality of life matters, and it is important that we can now say to our patients that their psychotherapy treatment for depression is also likely to make their quality of life better.

Thank you for listening to this Medscape Psychiatry Minute. Do enjoy your practice.

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