Research shows Psychotherapy equally as successful as anti-depressants at reducing depression

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Psychotherapy as effective as anti-depressants at treating depression

New research finds little difference between the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication and non-drug therapeutic approaches such as psychotherapy for the treatment of depression.  

The researchers suggest patients with depression should discuss different therapies with their GP prior to taking anti-depressants.

Non-drug treatment options for depression, like psychotherapy and counselling, have been shown to be equally as effective in the relieve of the symptoms of depressive disorders as using anti-depressants, according to the findings of a new research meta study.

Doctor Barth from the University of Bern, says their research findings indicate that people with depression should talk with their doctors about non-drug therapy options such as counselling and psychotherapy in order to find a treatment that is most appropriate for them.

The Office for National Statistics has found growing rates of depression and anxiety, as well as anxiety related issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) amongst adults in England since the early 1990s. But the pace at which doctors are prescribing medication to treat depression and anxiety has actually increased much more sharply compared to the number of adults being identified with these problems. Suggesting that many General practitioners were much too dependent on the “low-cost” and simple alternative of recommending drugs, instead of resolving the underlying psychological issues of depression and anxiety through counselling or psychotherapy.

Research shows psychotherapy as effective as drugs for depression | Depression Counselling ManchesterNew research evidence shows that treatments such as psychotherapy and counselling function just as well as medication for the treatment of depression.

The research conclusions have been attained by reviewing 198 published scientific studies which include in excess of 15,000 people receiving one of 7 forms of psychotherapeutic treatment: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), supportive counselling, behavioural activation, psychodynamic therapy, problem solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and social skills training.

The researchers compared each of the therapies with each other and with a control group.  The control group consisted of people who were either on a waiting list or obtaining the standard depression treatment, anti-depressant pills.

They discovered that all seven non-drug treatments were actually more effective at minimising the indicators of depression.  They also found that the various psychotherapies were as equally effective as each other.

The researchers likewise determined that psychotherapy functioned equally well for different patient groups studied, such as for younger and older clients and for mothers with post-natal depression.


Nigel is an Integrative Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Life Coach, a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner (NLP), and also a Clinical Hypnotherapist. He has run his full-time private Manchester Psychotherapy, Counselling, NLP, and Life Coaching practice since 2002. The practice is within quick and easy traveling distance of Manchester City Centre, Stockport, Altrincham, Didsbury, Withington, Fallowfield, Sale, Salford, Stretford, Bolton, Eccles, Gatley, Glossop, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Preston, Urmston, Wilmslow, Worsley.  For further information about his depression treatment in Manchester click here. 

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