A fresh form of therapy for depression has displayed promising initial indications of being both more efficient and cost-effective compared to the present leading approach of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
A pilot study conducted at the University of Exeter, financed by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR), and published in Lancet EClinical Medicine, has revealed that Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT) has the potential to be a notable progression in the field of depression treatment.
Depression is characterized by anhedonia (diminished interest or pleasure) and deficits in overall well-being, yet existing psychotherapeutic approaches such as CBT struggle to effectively address these aspects. In contrast, ADepT has been specifically designed to prioritize the cultivation of well-being alongside the reduction of depressive symptoms.
Barney Dunn, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Exeter, spearheaded the trial and expressed, "Depression is a pervasive issue with significant global implications, causing substantial social and economic burdens. Despite our best current treatments like CBT, only approximately 60 percent of individuals achieve recovery, and nearly half of them experience relapse within two years. With ADepT, we encourage clients to adopt a fresh perspective on their challenges, aiming to enable them to lead fulfilling lives even in the presence of depressive symptoms. The primary objective is to assist clients in identifying their core values across important life domains, taking actionable steps towards aligning their actions with these values, and effectively navigating opportunities and challenges along the way to promote well-being and enjoyment."
Katie, who has personal experience with ADepT, shared her perspective: "I have a lengthy history of engaging with mental health services, and it has almost become an integral part of my identity over the years. Previously, my focus during treatment was solely on trying to eradicate the symptoms of mental illness. However, ADepT has transformed my outlook, empowering me to take proactive steps towards attaining overall well-being. It has allowed me to embrace my authenticity and act in alignment with my values. ADepT has enabled me to make decisions that resonate with who I truly am, extending my identity beyond mental illness, which is truly remarkable. I have learned to appreciate and find joy in the positive aspects of life that bring me pleasure, even during challenging weeks. It has genuinely brought about transformative changes in my life."
This pilot study was the first randomized controlled trial conducted to assess the impact of ADepT. The trial involved 82 adults who were experiencing moderate to severe depression and demonstrated symptoms of anhedonia. The participants were primarily recruited from the waiting lists of the NHS Talking Therapy (formerly known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapy) service in Devon, UK. Through a random assignment process, the participants were divided into two groups: one receiving 20 individual sessions of ADepT and the other receiving CBT. The therapy sessions were conducted at the AccEPT clinic at the University of Exeter and were supported by Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx), and the University of Exeter Psychology Department. The researchers evaluated the participants at the beginning of the pilot study and followed up with assessments at six, twelve, and eighteen months.
Findings indicated that ADepT was clearly not inferior to, and exhibited promise to surpass, CBT in fostering wellness and alleviating depression at treatment culmination and during extended follow-up. Findings also indicated ADepT's cost-effectiveness, equating the delivery expenses of CBT while yielding superior enhancements in life quality. If these outcomes can be replicated in a subsequent conclusive study, it would imply that ADepT holds potential for both clinical and economic advantages within healthcare settings. Furthermore, ADepT has been devised to enable existing CBT practitioners to administer it with minimal supplementary instruction.
The study titled "Primary clinical and cost effectiveness of augmented depression therapy versus cognitive behavioural therapy for the treatment of anhedonic depression (ADepT): a single-centre, open-label, parallel-group, pilot, randomised, controlled trial" has been published in Lancet EClinical Medicine. (DPK/NW)
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