Depression: sufferers benefit from longer psychotherapy

Depression study: Chronically ill people benefit from prolonged psychotherapy

According to health experts, almost ten percent of people worldwide suffer from depression. Not every illness can be cured within a few months. Many patients relapse. A study has now shown that sufferers can benefit from longer psychotherapy.

Depression is often chronic

Almost ten percent of people worldwide suffer from depression. According to health experts, the mental illness can usually be treated well as long as it is recognized early. Depression is usually treated with medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy. But not every illness can be cured within a few months. Many depressions are chronic. A long-term study has now shown that longer psychotherapies - whether psychoanalysis or behavioral therapy - can reduce the symptoms sustainably.

Every second patient relapses

According to the German Society for Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Depth Psychology (DGPT), over half of patients with depression experience relapse after shorter psychotherapy or medication.

At least 20 to 30 percent of the depression is chronic, the experts explain in a message published by the Science Information Service (idw).

According to the authors, the study published in the specialist journal "Canadian Journal of Psychiatry" and in the "International Journal of Psychoanalysis" has now shown that prolonged psychotherapy can help the chronically ill.

"Three years after starting their therapy, 45 percent of the patients self-assessed the depressive symptoms, and according to independent experts even 61 percent," explains psychoanalyst Prof. Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber from the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt am Main Main, one of the leaders of the so-called LAC Depression Study, which was funded by the DGPT.

"In addition, the number of relapses was statistically significantly reduced."

High loads on the test subjects

Study director Leuzinger-Bohleber reported the high stress of the study participants:

“Most of them have already had several short-term psychotherapeutic and drug treatments. 84 percent have had traumatic childhood experiences, such as early emotional neglect, sexual and physical violence, loss of their parents or extremely stressful separations. ”

According to the information, the study is planned to last a total of 15 years - however, most psychotherapy studies cover a much shorter period.

Different approaches examined

In addition, the long-term study not only examined a psychotherapeutic procedure, but also the psychoanalytic as well as the cognitive-behavioral approach was used.

The 252 chronically depressed patients could choose between the procedures or were randomly assigned to psychotherapy if they had no preference. According to the authors, both methods achieved comparably good results.

"In future evaluations, we will examine which patients benefit best from which procedure," says Leuzinger-Bohleber.

"We will also analyze direct treatment costs and indirect costs through, for example, days off work or hospital stays in order to draw up a cost-benefit calculation." (Ad)

Author and source information

Video: No Longer Depressed - TMS Therapy (January 2022).