According to a recent study, people who receive psychotherapy for major depression are on short term disability longer than those who do not receive psychotherapy. Shanil Ebrahim of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University in Canada examined the difference in duration of time of claim to closure of claim in short term (STD) and long term (LTD) disability claims among Canadian workers.
Using data from a large disability insurer, Ebrahim analyzed over 20,000 claims and found that individuals who received psychotherapy were on STD longer than those who did not. In contrast, individuals who had filed LTD claims had faster closure times if they received psychotherapy when compared to LTD recipients who did not receive psychotherapy for depression.
The economic and financial impact of depression is immense. Workers who are impacted by depression may lose income as a result, and if they do not have access to disability, may rely on government assistance. However, private disability policies, when maximized, although paid for by the worker, also end up affecting all citizens through risk distribution and higher rates. Therefore, insurers and private citizens alike could benefit by understanding what factors, treatments and approaches put workers back on the job sooner.
This most recent study by Ebrahim supports other research that shows sooner re-employment times for individuals receiving psychotherapy and LTD. Surprisingly, however, this study also suggests that individuals who file only STD claims may actually be adding to their disability period by receiving psychotherapy and especially, as studied here, cognitive behavioral therapy. Additionally, older age and comorbid or recurring conditions added to the length of disability.
The research on depression is broad and varied. Understanding how it impacts individuals, families, economies, employers, and communities is ongoing. Although this study sheds some new light on the finer nuances of treatment approach, disability, and employment, more work needs to be done. “Establishing the causal effect of psychotherapy on claim resolution will require well-designed prospective studies,” added Ebrahim. Future efforts should focus on particular factors impacting claim duration for people with major depression.
Ebrahim, S., Guyatt, G.H., Walter, S.D., Heels-Ansdell, D., Bellman, M., et al. (2013). Association of psychotherapy with disability benefit claim closure among patients disabled due to depression. PLoS ONE 8(6): e67162. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067162
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.