Talk Your Way Out Of Depression

men_women_and_depression_1cbpsA study published in the PLOS ONE journal states that the benefits of talk therapy for depression have been overrated. Similar studies have been made in earlier years regarding effect of antidepressant drugs and with similar results. Both antidepressant drugs and talk therapy are effective; however, they may not be as great as it is portrayed to be. The researchers suggest that the exaggerations may be a result of exaggerated publication bias. Publication bias occurs when a positive finding supports treatment and is more likely to be published as compared to negative findings that stand a lower chance of publication.

Every treatment has its ups and downs. This is similar to tossing a coin and reporting only those that come up with heads and refuse to disclose the number of tails that turn up. Simply put, this kind of reporting only gives a distorted image of a particular treatment or method. The above mentioned study of talk therapy revolves around a review of 55 National Institutes of Health grants that were awarded from 1972 to 2008. These grants were allocated towards clinical trials of psychotherapy for depression. Sadly results from almost a quarter of the clinical trials were never published according to Erick Turner, psychiatrist and researcher at Oregon Health and Science University.

bigstock-depressed-college-student-talk-92745440-300x200Turner along with his colleagues laid hands on the unpublished results of the clinical trials and realized that the unpublished data lowered the apparent efficacy of psychotherapy for depression by about 25%. The outcome of such an exaggerated result being published was that the advocates of talk therapy and critics of drug therapy joined hands at dissuading the use of antidepressants in order to promote psychotherapy. Turner and his team revealed that the criticism was unfounded; however it should not be affecting victims of depression. While depression is only one among research problems, the question lies in how much of the data available out there is trustworthy and reliable.