Recent Non-medication Trials Of Interpersonal Psychotherapy For Depression

Weissman, Myrna M.

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited treatment described in a manual and tested in numerous clinical trials, with and without medication. Four recent clinical trials are reviewed in situations where medication as a first-line treatment for depression was not feasible (pregnancy, post partum, adolescence and in a developing country). The results show the efficacy of 12–16 wk of IPT compared to treatment as usual or no treatment in reducing depressive symptoms. The therapists providing the treatment included psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers as well as non-mental-health workers. We do not know if these patients might have done even better with medication, but each study showed a significant remission of symptoms of patients in IPT compared to controls. The use of efficacious, timelimited psychotherapy, which can be administered by non-medical personnel can be economical. An obstacle to providing evidence-based psychotherapies is the paucity of practitioners trained in them. Until the gap between training in psychotherapy and the research evidence in psychotherapy is bridged in training programmes, it will be difficult to provide patients with these treatments.


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The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

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February 1, 2022