Nearly half of major depression episodes could be prevented, studies show

2-16-2019 depression
Image credit: KieferPix/Shutterstock

While there are many effective treatments for depression, including medications and psychological therapies, the rate of depression is not going down, and treatment is not enough to reduce the burden. Recently, research has emerged indicating that about half of all cases of depression are preventable.

In much the same way we vaccinate against other debilitating diseases, it is our moral obligation to begin concerted prevention efforts to reduce the number of new cases of depression in our communities.


Effective psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches patients skills that give them greater control over their mood, have been found to reduce the likelihood of having another depressive episode in the future compared to antidepressant medications, once treatment stops. This preventive effect led researchers to ask, “Why wait until people are clinically depressed to teach them these skills?” In over 40 randomized controlled prevention trials to test this question, the evidence has been mounting that we can prevent about 50 percent of new episodes of major depression in people at high risk of becoming depressed in the near future. If we did this at the community level, the impact on our nation’s health would be massive.

Related article:  Can this DNA test find the right depression medication for you?

Read full, original post: We Can Actually Prevent Depression in Some Cases

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