Article

Self-help interventions for depressive disorders and depressive symptoms: a systematic review

Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.
Annals of General Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.53). 09/2008; 7:13. DOI: 10.1186/1744-859X-7-13
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Research suggests that depressive disorders exist on a continuum, with subthreshold symptoms causing considerable population burden and increasing individual risk of developing major depressive disorder. An alternative strategy to professional treatment of subthreshold depression is population promotion of effective self-help interventions that can be easily applied by an individual without professional guidance. The evidence for self-help interventions for depressive symptoms is reviewed in the present work, with the aim of identifying promising interventions that could inform future health promotion campaigns or stimulate further research.
A literature search for randomised controlled trials investigating self-help interventions for depressive disorders or depressive symptoms was performed using PubMed, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Reference lists and citations of included studies were also checked. Studies were grouped into those involving participants with depressive disorders or a high level of depressive symptoms, or non-clinically depressed participants not selected for depression. A number of exclusion criteria were applied, including trials with small sample sizes and where the intervention was adjunctive to antidepressants or psychotherapy.
The majority of interventions searched had no relevant evidence to review. Of the 38 interventions reviewed, the ones with the best evidence of efficacy in depressive disorders were S-adenosylmethionine, St John's wort, bibliotherapy, computerised interventions, distraction, relaxation training, exercise, pleasant activities, sleep deprivation, and light therapy. A number of other interventions showed promise but had received less research attention. Research in non-clinical samples indicated immediate beneficial effects on depressed mood for distraction, exercise, humour, music, negative air ionisation, and singing; while potential for helpful longer-term effects was found for autogenic training, light therapy, omega 3 fatty acids, pets, and prayer. Many of the trials were poor quality and may not generalize to self-help without professional guidance.
A number of self-help interventions have promising evidence for reducing subthreshold depressive symptoms. Other forms of evidence such as expert consensus may be more appropriate for interventions that are not feasible to evaluate in randomised controlled trials. There needs to be evaluation of whether promotion to the public of effective self-help strategies for subthreshold depressive symptoms could delay or prevent onset of depressive illness, reduce functional impairment, and prevent progression to other undesirable outcomes such as harmful use of substances.

1 Follower
 · 
128 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Emotional distress is common in adolescence, and self-care strategies are frequently preferred to address it. The aim of this article is to analyze the self-care strategies among adolescents and young people diagnosed with depression or with self-perceived depressive distress in Catalonia using a qualitative design. We analyzed the self-care strategies of 105 young people (17-21 years of age) in Catalonia who had participated in a national survey on adolescents. The sample was divided into thirds, with 37 who had a previous diagnosis of depression, 33 who had self-perceived emotional distress, and 35 controls. The participants' narratives on self-care strategies for emotional distress were elicited through in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data were managed using ATLAS-Ti 6.5 software18. We applied hermeneutic theory and the ethnographic method to analyze the interviews. The ten self-care strategies identified in the analysis were grouped into four areas covering the various pathways the young people followed according to whether they had a diagnosis of depression or their depressive distress was self-perceived. The young people feel responsible for their emotional distress and consider that they are capable of resolving it through their own resources. Their strategies ranged from their individuality to sociability expressed through their relationships with others, membership of groups or other self-care strategies (relaxation, meditation, naturopathy, etc.). The study results highlight the importance of sensitivity in considering young people's self-care strategies as another option in the care of emotional distress.
    International Journal of Mental Health Systems 01/2015; 9:9. DOI:10.1186/s13033-015-0001-2 · 1.06 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For major physical diseases, it is widely accepted that members of the public will benefit by knowing what actions they can take for prevention, early intervention, and treatment. However, this type of public knowledge about mental disorders (mental health literacy) has received much less attention. There is evidence from surveys in several countries for deficiencies in (a) the public's knowledge of how to prevent mental disorders, (b) recognition of when a disorder is developing, (c) knowledge of help-seeking options and treatments available, (d) knowledge of effective self-help strategies for milder problems, and (e) first aid skills to support others affected by mental health problems. Nevertheless, there is evidence that a range of interventions can improve mental health literacy, including whole-of-community campaigns, interventions in educational settings, Mental Health First Aid training, and information websites. There is also evidence for historical improvements in mental health literacy in some countries. Increasing the community's mental health literacy needs to be a focus for national policy and population monitoring so that the whole community is empowered to take action for better mental health.
    American Psychologist 10/2011; 67(3):231-43. DOI:10.1037/a0025957 · 6.87 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Some couples seek counseling to address warning signs. They may not be facing a relationship crisis but may be more concerned about where they are headed. Hence, a marriage makeover may not necessarily be needed, but instead couples in counseling may benefit from something rejuvenating. In such cases, brief interventions or techniques may be helpful. This article addresses how musical interventions can be used in couples counseling. A case example is introduced.
    The Family Journal 07/2012; 20(3):322-326. DOI:10.1177/1066480712449604