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Antidepressants or Psychotherapy For Depression

Antidepressant Use Up, Therapist Visits Down, New Study Says

Time on the psychiatrist's couch has long been viewed as a beneficial treatment for those with depression, but a new study has found that more patients are forgoing therapy sessions while antidepressant use has risen.

The report found that depression rates have risen significantly since 1987, and while the rate of antidepressant use boomed to 74 percent amount among depressed patients, up from 37 percent, those undergoing psychotherapy dropped from 71 percent to 60 percent.

The reason? While the researchers aren't completely sure, they theorize that both the new drug therapies available and the cost of a psychiatrist visit have something to do with it. Many insurance companies may cap psychiatrist visits — which can make regular therapy sessions unaffordable — but will cover generic or other cheaper medicinal options. In addition, an increase in advertising dollars for antidepressants means that patients are more knowledgeable about their drug options than psychotherapy.

The authors noted that while the results show that fewer depressed Americans are going without treatment, "the decline in psychotherapy raises the possibility that many depressed patients are not receiving optimal care."

Photo courtesy of AMC

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