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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2005 May;111(5):331-40.

The effectiveness of psychological treatments for treatment-resistant depression: a systematic review.

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  • 1Psychotherapy Evaluation Research Unit, Tavistock Centre, London, UK.



A systematic review of all studies (controlled and uncontrolled) to evaluate psychological interventions with treatment-resistant depression.


A systematic search to identify studies evaluating a psychological intervention with adults with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder who had not responded to at least one course of antidepressant medication.


Twelve studies met inclusion criteria, of which four were controlled and eight uncontrolled. Treatment effect sizes were computable for four studies and ranged from 1.23 to 3.10 with a number of better quality studies demonstrating some improvements in patients following a psychological intervention.


Psychological treatments for depression are commonly delivered and often recommended following the failure of medication. The paucity of evidence for their effectiveness in these situations is a significant problem. There is a need for studies with a strong controlled design investigating the effectiveness of psychological treatments for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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