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Gary Small, M.D., is Chair of Psychiatry at Hackensack University Medical Center, and Physician in Chief for Behavioral Health Services at Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest, most comprehensive and integrated healthcare network. Dr. Small has often appeared on the TODAY show, Good Morning America, and CNN and is co-author (with his wife Gigi Vorgan) of 10 popular books, including New York Times bestseller, “The Memory Bible,” “The Small Guide to Anxiety,” and “The Small Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Tags: Depression | depression | therapy | antidepressants | best | drugs

What's Better for Depression: Therapy or Drugs?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 09:24 AM

My friend got depressed after being laid off from work, and his doctor started him on an antidepressant drug. Do you think he should he be treated with psychotherapy instead of medicines?
 
 
Psychotherapy may well be helpful for your friend. Speaking with a professional about the emotional impact of a loss can put that loss into perspective and help relieve symptoms of depression. 
 
However, whether someone responds to an antidepressant drug or not depends more on their depressive symptoms than on whether a stressful life event caused the mood swing. Multiple studies have found that patients with major depression have a good chance of improving when taking an antidepressant drug. 
 
Major depression is a syndrome that can include sadness, lack of interest, insomnia, agitation, fatigue, poor concentration, appetite loss, and suicidal thinking. The specific symptoms vary, but if the patient has four or more of these kinds of symptoms, there is a good chance that antidepressants will be helpful. 
 
For many of these kinds of depressions, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most effective strategy. Some patients have a predisposition to depression and will have low mood swings that seem to come out of nowhere. 
 
These kinds of depressions also can respond to both medication and psychotherapy.
 

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My friend got depressed after being laid off from work, and his doctor started him on an antidepressant drug. Do you think he should he be treated with psychotherapy instead of medicines? Psychotherapy may well be helpful for your friend. Speaking with a professional about...
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2013-24-10
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 09:24 AM
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