Treatments for depression that do not involve antidepressant drugs but rather focus on different forms of psychotherapy interventions are all beneficial.
The techniques, also sometimes called talk therapy, can take various iterations with no one form of therapy being better than the others, according to a study by international researchers published in PLOS Medicine.
Experts believe the findings are important as they suggest that patients with depression should discuss different forms of non-drug therapy with their doctors and explore which type of psychotherapy best suits them.
Researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland reached these conclusions by reviewing 198 published studies involving more than 15,000 patients receiving one of seven types of psychotherapeutic intervention.
Techniques included interpersonal psychotherapy, behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy, problem solving therapy, psychodynamic therapy, social skills training and supportive counseling.
The authors compared each of the therapies with each other and with a control — patients on a waiting list or continuing usual case — and combined the results.
Study authors, led by Jürgen Barth, Ph.D., found that all seven therapies were better at reducing symptoms of depression than waiting list and usual care and that there were no significant differences between the different types of therapy.
Researchers also found that the therapies worked equally well for different patient groups with depression, such as for younger and older patients and for mothers who had depression after having given birth.
Interestingly, the authors found no substantial differences when comparing individual with group therapy or with face-to-face therapy compared with internet-based interactions between therapist and patient.
Barth noted,”We found evidence that most of the seven psychotherapeutic interventions under investigation have comparable effects on depressive symptoms and achieve moderate to large effects vis-à-vis waitlist.
“All seven psychotherapeutic interventions achieved a small to moderate effect compared to usual care.”
Source: Public Library of Science