Harvard Men's Health Watch

When a depression drug fails, add talk therapy

When antidepressant drugs don't work at first, adding a form of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help, a study in The Lancet revealed.

British researchers studied a group of 469 people who had received a medication for depression, but did not gain relief within six weeks. Half were chosen at random to start CBT while continuing to take the antidepressant.

CBT teaches people to recognize and respond to negative thinking more effectively. Participants in the British study were offered 12 to 18 sessions. After six months of CBT, twice as many people saw a significant drop (50%) in their depression symptoms compared with those on medication alone. They were also more likely to see complete remission after six months of combination therapy.

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