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Unread November 4th, 2005, 01:39 PM
Gary Schroeder Gary Schroeder is offline
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Question Relapse and recurrent major depression

I think that for a long time it has been "common knowledge" among mental health professionals that the more episodes of clinical depression a patient has had (I'm talking about unipolar depression here, not bipolar disorder), the more likely it is that they need to take antidepressant medications for the rest of their lives, to prevent relapse.

However, I am aware that in recent years there has been some research (e.g., Hollon, et. al.) showing a lower relapse rate for patients receiving cognitive therapy than for patients taken off medications. I don't know if any such studies have included patients with recurrent major depression, or if the subjects were being treated for their first episode.

My question is, is there a body of research showing that if a patient with RECURRENT major depression succeeds with cognitive therapy, the patient may be able to remain euthymic over time without using antidepressant medications?

The reason I am asking this is that I am a psychologist seeing a patient with recurrent major depressive disorder in individual cognitive psychotherapy, and the patient (who is also being followed on meds by a psychiatrist colleague of mine) asked us if she will need to take the antidepressant medications for the rest of her life.

Thank you very much.
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