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Nihon Rinsho. 2001 Aug;59(8):1507-12.

[Treatment of major depressive disorder--method and selection of the treatment].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Psychiatry, Showa University School of Medicine.


There are many ways of treatment for depression. Among them the most popular and effective treatment is pharmacotherapy. In the acute phase, pharmacotherapy with antidepressants, certain forms of psychotherapy, the combination of pharmacotherapy plus psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive treatment have clearly proven to be efficacious in most types of unipolar depressive disorders. The common augmenting agents probably are lithium, thyroid hormone, dopaminergic agents, and mood stabilizers. Certain treatments may be more effective in specific subtypes; for example, light therapy is useful for seasonal affective disorder. During the 16-24 weeks following remission, patients with antidepressant medications in the acute phase should be maintained on these agents to prevent relapse. For patient pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy has not been effective, the use of ECT may be useful. Following the continuation phase, maintenance-phase treatment should be considered for patients who have many depressive episodes to prevent recurrences of major depressive disorder.

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