Combination Therapies Best Recipe For Success for Depression

Ian Colman, an epidemiologist in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, completed a study that examines the implications of long-term treatment methods. The findings suggest that those who receive treatment for depression have a better chance of recovery than those who do not. Colman believes that the positive outcome is the result of more than medications alone. Colman said, “It’s more likely that results from the study speak to the importance of getting evidence-based treatment, drugs or other therapies, in the first place and treatments that ensure that all of your symptoms are resolved.”

Colman also points out that clients must continue to receive proper treatment until all of their symptoms have ceased. “It’s common that depressed individuals will have a partial remission of symptoms where they feel better but some symptoms remain; those people have poor long-term outcomes,” he said. “It’s important to have successful treatment that deals with all of your symptoms.” Less than 50 percent of people who are depressed actually receive any kind of treatment. Most of those who do not are either in denial, do not recognize their own symptoms, or are in fear due to the stigma mental illness often has. Colman hopes that these new findings will lead to earlier intervention and will spur those suffering with these issues to get care.

Some of the treatment options that have proven to be successful include psychotherapy and medications. However, helping a client deal with extremely stressful situations and other triggers that exacerbate symptoms is best accomplished with psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy because these techniques teach a person how to rely on problem solving skills and other necessary tools. “Evidence suggests that cognitive behavioral therapies are as effective as anti-depressants, and the two treatments together is even more effective,” said Colman.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Alison


    April 12th, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    What works for one may not work for the other. Someone else may need a little more talk and a little less med and vice versa. It may take a little time to find out the right combo for individual patients but the right therapist can do that. But I have always maintained the belief that you should not have one without the other. If so the med becomes like a bad aid and the real issues will not heal.

  • Kieran


    April 12th, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    “The findings suggest that those who receive treatment for depression have a better chance of recovery than those who do not.”

    Seems like an easy job to come to conclusions like that. Talk about stating the obvious! Where do I sign up to be a researcher? LOL.

  • Dionne


    April 12th, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    I’m all for accepting treatment for depression in a heartbeat and multiple ones at that. In fact I can’t think of one mental illness where you can keep going on your own and get through it better than you would had you sought counseling and guidance. I feel it would just keep coming back with a vengeance if you do.

  • Paige


    April 12th, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    @Kieran: Look closer. The study was focused on treatment beyond just seeing a shrink or taking meds. Granted, it’s still fairly obvious that multiple treatments at once will most likely do you a whole lot more good.

  • Warren


    April 13th, 2011 at 3:44 AM

    More than treatment alone it is important that the treatment is holistic and that future relapses are avoided. So in this regard, CBT has proven to be a very good solution time and again. I only hope it’s implementation is spread even more.

  • allen


    April 13th, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    along with therapy,depression really needs support from family and friends.therapy and meds may do a lot to treat depression but when the people around you stand by you and offer support,there’s nothing like it!

  • Clay


    April 14th, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    We all need different kinds of treatments depending on our individual circumstances. That’s why sometimes you need to try several different types of therapy or medications. The doctors and therapists want to make sure they find one that’s optimal for that particular depressed patient.

  • Venus


    April 16th, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    @Clay: Some don’t respond to medication at all which makes the depression that much harder to treat. My husband’s never found a solution in meds and has been dealing with severe bouts of depression on and off since the seventies.

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on