January 27, 2012

Study: People Who Suffer Mild Depression Should Take Meds

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, people with mild depression may find benefits to taking antidepressants.

Researchers analyzed data form six past studies done at the New York State Psychiatric Institute between 1985 and 2000.

The studies included 825 patients with non-severe, long-lasting depression enrolled in trials that compared symptoms with antidepressant treatment versus a placebo.

In three of the studies, the team found that patients taking an antidepressant improved more on a widely-used scale of depression symptoms and severity than those taking the placebo.

In four of the studies, they found that a higher percentage of patents taking antidepressants went into remission, which means they were no longer considered to have clinically-significant depression.

The authors found that between three and eight people with non-severe depression would have to be treated with an antidepressant for one to benefit substantially from it.

"I think there's a valid concern... that if someone has not-that-severe depression that hasn't lasted that long, maybe it will get better itself or with therapy," Dr. David Hellerstein, who worked on the study. told Reuters.

He said people with "transient depression" that improve with diet, exercise or therapy should not take the risk of being on medication.

"But people who have more persistent depression should be evaluated for treatment and medicine should be one of the options," Hellerstein told Reuters.

The researchers said a combination of talk therapy and medication is considered the most effective way to treat depression.


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