Ringing Out Despair: Phone therapy gets call as depression buster | Science News

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Ringing Out Despair: Phone therapy gets call as depression buster

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11:21am, August 25, 2004

It may be time for mental-health workers to pick up a new depression-fighting tool—the telephone. People taking antidepressant drugs for a bout of depression do particularly well, at least over a 6-month period, if they also take part in a program that includes telephone psychotherapy, a new study finds.

Evidence of telephone therapy's mood-enhancing effect raises the prospect of expanding the reach of depression treatment, says the investigation's director, psychiatrist Gregory E. Simon of Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. Many people suffering from depression don't take antidepressants—even if the drugs have been prescribed for them—and never receive psychotherapy of any kind. Feelings of discouragement when a medication doesn't work right away and the stigma associated with psychological treatment contribute to this problem, Simon holds.

"With this telephone program, we can help many depressed people who aren't reached by traditional in-person tr

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