CT is as Effective as Fluoxetine in Preventing Depressive Relapses

A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry showed Cognitive Therapy (CT) to be as effective as medication (Fluoxetine) in reducing the risk of major depressive disorder (MDD) relapse. Participants in the current study included 523 adults with a diagnosis of MDD and a score of 14 or higher on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. They were recruited from clinical referrals and advertisements during 2000 to 2008. Researchers employed a sequential, 3-stage design with an acute phase in which all patients received 12 weeks of CT; an 8-month experimental phase in which responders at higher risk were randomized to receive either a continuation of CT, fluoxetine, or a pill placebo; and a 24-month longitudinal, posttreatment follow up. At the end of the 8-month experimental stage, participants were assessed without treatment at 4 month intervals, continuing for 32 months. Results showed that CT and fluoxetine had almost equal relapse rates during the 8-month experimental phase, which were maintained during the assessment following termination of treatment. While further research is needed to fully understand the differences between psychopharmacological treatment and CT for depression, these finding suggest that CT is a valid alternative to drug therapies.

Jarret, R. B., Minhajuddin, A., Gershenfeld, H., Friedman, E. S., & Thase, M. E. (2013). Preventing depressive relapse and recurrence in higher-risk cognitive therapy responders: A randomized trial of continuation phase cognitive therapy, fluoxetine, or matched pill placebo. JAMA Psychiatry, 70(11), 1152-1160. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.1969

Long-Term Study on Family Group Cognitive-Behavioral Preventative Intervention Shows Promising Results in Children Whose Parents Have Major Depressive Disorder

A recent study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that a family group cognitive-behavioral (FGCB) preventative intervention for children (9-15 years old) whose parents have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) significantly lowered the rates of MDD onset in children during a 2-year intervention period. The rates of MDD in children in the FGCB preventative intervention were reduced by half compared to a written information group in which families were mailed educational materials on depression. These findings suggest a need for effective preventive interventions for children of depressed parents.

Compas, B. E., Forehand, R., Thigpen, J. C., Keller, G., Hardcastle, E. J., Cole, D. A., & … Roberts, L. (2011). Family group cognitive–behavioral preventive intervention for families of depressed parents: 18- and 24-month outcomes. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 79(4), 488-499. doi:10.1037/a0024254