The highly touted psychotherapy is not as efficient as claimed for depression, a new study claims after researchers perused through a series of unpublished papers.
- 6.7% of adults in American suffer from MDD
- Psychotherapy is 25% less effective than originally thought
- The percentage is now estimated to be 20% of achieving successful, positive results
- Researchers state that psychotherapy is still a viable option of treating depression, even better in combination with antidepressants
Depression is one of the most common mental health problems that affects the population of the United States, with an estimate of 6.7% suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD). It has been widely debated on how to treat the unfortunate condition, as it presents with many challenges.
It’s difficult to tell from one patient to another what is best way to handle the issue, and, furthermore, depression is also intermittent.
According to the study’s co-author and psychology professor at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Steve Hollon, depression “is a moving target”. The matter has fallen in the hands of two methods to combat it. One is with the use of antidepressant drugs and medication, while the other is through extensive talk therapy. A combination of both has remained as the prime solution, but talk therapy alone has been overestimated and overstated in its effects.
The researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have gone through all the trials that have received grants for the purpose of testing the effects of psychotherapy. Records were examined from between 1972 and 2008, taking even unpublished trials into considerations. Most researchers avoid publication if the results are not deemed as interesting or positive.
They have found that talk therapy is, in fact, around 25% less effective that suggested, which officially leaves it with a meager 20% chance of positive results. It certainly remains an option, but it has been grossly overstated on how often it can help people suffering from depression. The researchers delved deeper into the matter and further investigated why scientists have left some vital data unpublished.
Some have claimed that their results were not interesting enough, or that they became too distracted to publicize unfavorable findings. It has become a concern for the medical community that negative results are no longer published and instead remain outside the knowledge of doctors. It’s not necessarily the fault of researchers, but also due to the fact that negative results win much less support.
It’s an important part that both sides of the coin will be well known. It could lead to the current problem of overstating the effects of psychotherapy and ignoring possible unfortunate effects of other methods. Some fall prey to publication bias, and it seems talk therapy is just as riddled with subjective opinions as drug therapy.
The researchers suggest that this issue could harm the well being of patients, and the practice of doctors. Psychotherapy is certainly still an efficient means of alleviating problems of depression, but it’s not as good as it was boasted by published studies.
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