A study reported in General Hospital Psychiatry, confirms that antidepressants are effective in the treatment of depression but also note it may be harder to recover from hopelessness than other symptoms.
“For many in the study, feelings of hopefulness did not improve until several weeks, or even months, after depressive symptoms lifted, says lead author James E. Aikens, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan.
The researchers studied 573 adults (average age was 46) with a depression diagnosis. From their work, they made two recommendations:
- “Patients should be followed closely for several months after their mood improves if they were particularly pessimistic before starting antidepressant treatment.
- Therapy may help heal hopelessness by teaching patients to challenge their pessimistic thoughts.”
This study interests me in that it reinforces what we clinicians have seen in practice for sometime. Even women who respond quickly and well to antidepressant treatment often require the additional support that psychotherapy provides to recover fully from the illness. As women who suffer and clinicians who treat it well know, PPD can pierce the soul of a woman who is struggling with symptoms. Initial symptom relief is our immediate goal in treatment. After that, much of what we focus on is helping mom reclaim her sense of self amidst the trauma of the depression. I think it makes sense to have research support this claim that even when mood improves, there are issues that linger that could, potentially, surface down the road.
source: Aikens, J. (2008). General Hospital Psychiatry. Vol 30: pp 26-31