Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials

Alberto Zaniboni  
Oncologia Medica, Fondazione Poliambulanza


Non-Pharmacological Treatment of Depressive Disorders: A Review of Evidence-Based Treatment Options

Author(s): J. Dirmaier, M. Steinmann, T. Krattenmacher, B. Watzke, D. Barghaan, U. Koch and H. Schulz

Affiliation: University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Department of Medical Psychology, MartinistraBe 52, 20246 Hamburg; Germany.

Keywords: Depression, evidence-based treatment, guidelines, literature review, non-pharmacological treatment options, psychotherapy


Background: The primary goals of this paper are to describe the collection and evaluation of various nonpharmacological treatment options for depressive disorders and to establish a basis for the development of a standard for the treatment of patients with depressive disorders.

Method: To identify evidence-based treatment elements, a comprehensive investigation of national and international guidelines was conducted. The extracted guidelines were then assessed with regard to aspects of methodological quality and evidence-based treatment elements. In a further step, specific and systematic literature searches for residual treatment elements were conducted. For the corresponding literature search, a hierarchical approach was chosen in which current guidelines were reviewed first and systematic reviews and meta-analyses second. Psychopharmacological treatments were excluded from the analysis because this is covered by specific guidelines.

Results: The treatment elements with an adequate level of evidence were identified as follows: psychotherapeutic interventions, marital/couples/family therapy and counseling, inclusion of family members, psycho-education, exercise, problem solving therapy, guided self-help and behavioral activation treatments. Further evidence-based methods include diagnostic treatment elements, participative decision-making, development of the therapeutic alliance, Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System for Psychotherapy, computerized cognitive behavior therapy, psychopharmacological therapy, combined psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, phototherapy, sleep deprivation, repetitive trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and acupuncture.

Conclusion: In summary, using a hierarchical approach, it was possible to assign different levels of evidence to the various treatment options for depression.

Order Reprints Order Eprints Rights & PermissionsPrintExport

Article Details

Page: [141 - 149]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/157488712800100233