Harvard Health Letter

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps depression

Research shows the approach is especially helpful for those who aren't aided by drugs.

Depression is more than just a bit of the blues. The classic sadness, despair, and slowed mental functioning can be accompanied by physical symptoms, including aches and pains, heart palpitations, tremors, fatigue, and nausea. People who have depression are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and possibly dementia.

Only a third of patients with depression respond fully to antidepressant medication. But treatment isn't limited to drugs. "Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is as effective as any individual antidepressant would be," says Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

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