How Depression Is Treated: A Real-World Snapshot?

June 7, 2010

Given a choice between talk therapy and taking an antidepressant, most Americans would choose the pill. And--if given a choice among the various types of antidepressants--most would prefer an SSRI.

Given a choice between talk therapy and taking an antidepressant, most Americans would choose the pill. And--if given a choice among the various types of antidepressants--most would prefer an SSRI.

These are among the key findings of a survey of 1500 readers of ConsumerReports who had sought medical help for depression and/or anxiety between January 2006 and April 2009. Nearly 80% of these respondents had received a prescription for an antidepressant after their diagnosis of depression or anxiety.

Other highlights of the survey:
•Talk therapy does help. Those who participated in at least 7 sessions reported as much clinical improvement as those who took only medication. Of note: people who used both forms of therapy had better outcomes.
•There were fewer reported adverse effects with SSRIs than with SNRIs. However, rates of lack of libido were significantly lower than rates in an 2004 survey.
•58% of those surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety-up from 41% reported the 2004 survey.

More details are available at www.consumerreports.org/health/conditions-and-treatments/depression-anxiety/depression-and-anxiety/index.htm.