Principal Investigators: Jason A. Nieuwsma, Ph.D.; Co-Investigators: Ranak B. Trivedi, Ph.D.; Jennifer McDuffie, Ph.D.; Ian Kronish, M.D.; Dinesh Benjamin, M.D.; John W. Williams Jr., M.D., M.H.Sc.; Medical Editor: Liz Wing, M.A.
Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) Center, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC
Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; February 2011
The individual and societal burden of depressive disorders is widely acknowledged, but treating these disorders remains challenging. Clinical guidelines recommend that both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy should be considered as first-line treatments. Yet, because primary care settings are often the frontline of treatment, pharmacological treatments take precedence. In part, this may be due to the perception that psychotherapy is lengthy and time intensive, with guidelines recommending 12 to 20 1-hour sessions for most evidence-based psychotherapies. However, recent evidence seems to suggest that psychotherapies that are briefer in both duration and intensity may be efficacious in acute-phase treatment. If true, these briefer psychotherapies may be more easily integrated in primary care settings. Thus, we conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature to answer the following key questions: