Relapse and recurrence prevention in depression: Current research and future prospects

Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Clinical psychology review (Impact Factor: 7.18). 12/2011; 31(8):1349-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.09.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There is a growing body of literature which indicates that acute phases of psychotherapy are often ineffective in preventing relapse and recurrence in major depression. As a result, there is a need to develop and evaluate therapeutic approaches which aim to reduce the risk of relapse. This article provides a review of the empirical studies which have tested the prophylactic effects of therapy (cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness-based, and interpersonal psychotherapy) targeting relapse and recurrence in major depression. For definitional clarity, relapse is defined here as a return to full depressive symptomatology before an individual has reached a full recovery, whereas recurrence in defined as the onset of a new depressive episode after a full recovery has been achieved. Psychotherapeutic efforts to prevent relapse and recurrence in depression have been effective to varying degrees, and a number of variables appear to moderate the success of these approaches. A consistent finding has been that preventive cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based therapies are most effective for patients with three or more previous depressive episodes, and alternative explanations for this finding are discussed. It is noted, however, that a number of methodological limitations exist within this field of research, and so a set of hypotheses that may guide future studies in this area is provided.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The high prevalence, frequent relapse, and recurrence of major depressive disorder (MDD) increase its personal and societal costs. Cognitive therapy (CT) aims to decrease depressive symptoms and prevent relapse/recurrence. We review prevention evidence for acute, continuation, and maintenance CTs for patients whose depression is active, remitted, and recovered, respectively. Evidence suggests that patients relapse less often after discontinuing acute phase CT versus discontinuing pharmacotherapy. Continuation CT further decreases relapse relative to inactive controls and similarly to active pharmacotherapy. Maintenance CT may decrease recurrence but needs rigorous evaluation. Post-acute CT's preventive effects appear greater for higher-risk patients (e.g., with residual depressive symptoms, unstable acute-phase treatment response, childhood trauma, more prior depressive episodes), although risks may vary by specific CTs.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background An important biological factor suggested in the pathophysiology of (recurrent) Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) concerns a polymorphism in a gene encoding for the MTHFR-enzyme of the one-carbon (1-C)-metabolism. Integratively investigating key 1-C-components (folate, homocysteine, vitamin B6 and B12), including the possible effects of antidepressant medication and depressive state, could provide more insight in the possible association between the MTHFR-polymorphism and recurrent MDD. Methods We compared the MTHFR C677T-polymorphism together with the key 1-C-components in clinically ascertained patients with recurrent MDD (n=137) to age- and gender-matched healthy controls (n=73). Results First, patients had lower folate (t=2.25; p=.025) as compared to controls; a difference that resolved after correction for demographics (t=1.22; p=.223). Second, patients that were depressed during sampling had lower vitamin B6 (t=−2.070; p=.038) and higher homocysteine (t=2.404; p=.016) compared to those in remission. Finally, current use of antidepressants had no influence on the 1-C-components. Conclusions Despite investigation of a specific recurrently depressed patient population, we found no clear associations with the 1-C-cycle, except for higher homocysteine and lower vitamin B6 during the depressed state. This suggests that 1-C-cycle alterations in MDD are state-associated, possibly resulting from high levels of acute (psychological) stress, and may provide a treatment target to reduce cardiovascular risk in this population.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 09/2014; 166:115–123. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.04.048 · 3.71 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies suggest that poor physical health might be associated with increased depression and anxiety recurrence. The objectives of this study were to determine whether specific chronic diseases and pain characteristics are associated with depression and anxiety recurrence and to examine whether such associations are mediated by subthreshold depressive or anxiety symptoms.
    BMC Psychiatry 06/2014; 14(1):187. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-14-187 · 2.24 Impact Factor
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format


Available from
Nov 29, 2014