Severe Dearth of Studies on Non-pharmacological Treatments for Depression In Hospitals


Researchers from New Zealand’s University of Otago searched several major medical databases for studies that had tested non-drug approaches to depression with “inpatients” in hospital settings. In the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, the reasearchers reported that they found only twelve studies in total had ever been done.

“The interventions included psychotherapies, behavioural activation, and chronotherapeutic interventions (controlled exposure to environmental stimuli),” stated the researchers.

“The majority of studies reported favourable outcomes for the interventions compared to a control, but methodological issues were common,” they stated. However, they added, these studies suggest that it is certainly “possible’ to engage even severely depressed inpatients in “structured interventions” that do not involve psychiatric medications.

Crowe, Marie, Ben Beaglehole, Hayley Wells, and Richard Porter. “Non-Pharmacological Strategies for Treatment of Inpatient Depression.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, February 3, 2015, 0004867415569799. doi:10.1177/0004867415569799. (Abstract)