FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A brief psychosocial-behavioral intervention, when applied in addition to antidepressant treatment, can markedly reduce both short- and long-term depression following stroke, according to research published online Aug. 6 in Stroke.
Pamela H. Mitchell, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a randomized study in 101 patients who were identified as clinically depressed after an ischemic stroke. Patients were divided into two groups and treated with either a brief psychosocial-behavioral intervention plus an antidepressant or usual care, including an antidepressant. Treatment was continued over eight weeks.
Compared with the usual-care group, the researchers found that patients in the intervention group had a significantly lower depression score both immediately after treatment and at 12 months. The mean percent decrease in depression score after 12 months was significantly greater in the intervention group compared with the usual-care group (47 versus 32 percent). Additionally, the authors note, significantly more of the patients in the intervention group were in remission both after treatment and at 12 months.
"A brief psychosocial-behavioral intervention adjunctive to antidepressant therapy is highly effective in reducing depression and achieving remission in the short term with the effect sustained for up to two years," the authors write. "Participants in the usual-care control group also reduced their depression over the first year, but more slowly and with a lesser degree of remission."
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