Mental Health

Peer Support Better for Depression than Traditional Care

| by Alex Groberman

According to a new analysis published in the General Hospital Psychiatry journal, peer support may do a better job of treating depression than traditional care.

Based on the research, nearly one-third of depressed patients had significant or noteworthy symptoms after being treated by four different medications for their conditions. On top of that total, even those deemed “cured” by their treatments were found to relapse within half a year.

For the purpose of this analysis, 14 studies relating to depression and peer support were utilized. All of these studies had individuals that were depressed randomly assigned to receive peer support with at least one other person, or one of three types of treatment including standard care, cognitive behavioral therapy or both. All in all 869 participants were included.

Dr. Paul Pfeiffer, who served as one of the researchers involved in the study, noted that support groups worked better to regular care. That being said, support groups didn’t do any better than cognitive behavioral therapy.

"Given the high level of functional burden imposed by depression worldwide, peer support for depression should also be studied as a potentially low-cost intervention in primary care or other settings where more established but costly depression services are unavailable," the authors concluded.

These latest findings, if nothing else, simply re-enforce that there are a variety of effective options out there for any individuals that may be struggling with depression.

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