The Treatment of Psychotic Major Depression: Is There a Role for Adjunctive Psychotherapy?

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APA Citation: 

Gaudiano, B. A., Miller, I. W., & Herbert, J. D. (2007). The treatment of psychotic major depression: Is there a role for adjunctive psychotherapy? Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 76, 271-277.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
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Background: Psychotic depression is a relatively prevalent mood disorder associated with greater symptom severity, a poorer course of illness and higher levels of functional impairment compared with nonpsychotic depression. Separate lines of investigation suggest that various forms of cognitive- behavioral therapy are efficacious for treating severe forms of nonpsychotic depression as well as primary psychotic disorders. However, there currently are no empirically supported psychotherapies specifically designed for treating psychotic depression. Method: We review the efficacy of current somatic treatments for the disorder and discuss the limited data to date on potentially useful psychotherapeutic approaches. In particular, we describe the clinical improvement observed in a subgroup of hospitalized patients with psychotic depression treated with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as part of a larger clinical trial. Results: Pilot results demonstrated that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy was associated with clinically significant reductions in acute symptom severity and impairment compared with treatment as usual. Conclusion: The findings suggest that patients with psychotic depression can benefit from psychotherpy. Clinical and research recommendations in this area are presented.

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