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Treat Alcoholism and Depression Together

Treat Alcoholism and Depression TogetherA new study discovers a treatment regimen combining cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications for depression and alcohol addiction improves clinical outcomes.

Specifically, combining the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) with the alcohol dependence treatment naltrexone produced a 54 percent abstinence rate in patients with both major depression and alcohol dependence, whereas the rates were only 21 to 28 percent for patients taking a placebo, sertraline only, or naltrexone only.

This study shows an important advancement in the treatment of patients who live with both alcoholism and depression because the co-occurrence of these disorders is common in clinical practice, yet antidepressants alone are not sufficient for reducing excessive drinking in these patients.

All 170 patients also received cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the four treatment groups all showed clinical reductions in depressive symptoms over the 14-week study, which was conducted by Helen Pettinati, Ph.D., and colleagues of the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to a higher abstinence rate, the group receiving combination treatment had a longer interval before resumption of drinking: a median of 61 days compared with 15 days for the other groups combined.

Serious adverse events were actually less frequent in the group receiving both medications, since the most common serious event was hospitalization for detoxification or rehabilitation.

“When depression and alcohol dependence occur together, each condition has a negative influence on the outcome of the other, so not only does this pairing of illnesses affect a lot of patients, it also makes the individual disorders worse,” Dr. Pettinati stated.

“Combining sertraline and naltrexone could be a practical approach for these patients because both have FDA approval.”

The study appears in AJP in Advance , the online advance edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

Source: American Psychiatric Association

Treat Alcoholism and Depression Together

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Treat Alcoholism and Depression Together. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/18/treat-alcoholism-and-depression-together/12231.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.