Psychosocial treatment approaches to difficult-to-treat depression

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Coexisting psychiatric and medical conditions, environmental and contextual factors, inadequate diagnosis and treatment, medication non-adherence, and issues such as low self-esteem, hopelessness and cognitive reactivity, can play a role in difficult-to-treat depression. A reduction in symptoms due to pharmacological treatment does not equate with full recovery, and some level of rehabilitation is often required. The evidence base for psychosocial therapies in difficult-to-treat depression is small, with the research heavily weighted toward biological treatments. Nevertheless, combining psychological treatments with pharmacotherapy is likely to improve rates of recovery in difficult-to-treat depression. Psychological therapies can be useful in modifying health beliefs, treating comorbid anxiety and other disorders, dealing with contextual factors, and activating patients to facilitate their recovery. Effective treatment requires a multidisciplinary team involving a general practitioner and psychologist, and sometimes a psychiatrist. Effective communication and active engagement of patients and families is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-55
Number of pages4
JournalThe Medical Journal of Australia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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