Project Proposal R.F.

What societal problem or problems have you identified while researching your topic?

  • Pharmacotherapy is the American Psychological Association "Golden Standard" of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and is therefore prescribed for mild to severe cases indiscriminately.
  • Behavioral and/or Cognitive therapies are less commonly used even though studies have shown them equally effective and in many cases show less likelihood of depressive relapse after therapy is ceased.

What are the causes of this problem? Was it intentional? Are there extenuating circumstances?

  • Past studies, as well as the ease of just taking a pill, have lead the APA to list Pharmacotherapy as the leading therapy for MDD. After the deinstitutionalization in 1970's U.S. Pharmacotherapy became the therapy of choice for many psychological disorders. They require little maintenance to be effective, usually only bi-weekly to monthly check-ups to make sure the dosage is still effective or to prescribe a new form of medication. They are also generally seen as a cheaper form of therapy because of this. However due to the necessity to continuously maintain it and to continue upping the dosage to be effective, it can actually end up being more expensive than a behavioral approach or cognitive therapy that can eventually be ceased. This is because these therapies give you certain "tools" to deal with your depression internally and/or externally rather than maintaining a daily dose of antidepressant medication.

What can we do about it? Is there any action that can be taken to change this? What action has been already attempted to address this problem? Why wasn't it successful?

  • To prove empirically the equal effectiveness of Antidepressant medications and the Behavioral Approach (BA), Cognitive Therapy (CT) or a combination of the two CBT (or sometimes just referred to collectively as the CT package) in treating many cases of mild-severe forms of MDD. There have been many studies done over the last 40 years that seem to suggest this theory true but there is still resistance. This maybe due to many factors. The relative consistency of a drug compared to the inconsistency from therapist to therapist is one. Another may be that patients, doctors (and insurance companies) seem to prefer pharmacotherapy for its simplicity and fast-acting results.

In what ways is this thesis and topic challenging (p.108)?

  • This topic is exceedingly challenging. There is much debate in the psychological community over the most effective treatment(s) for depression. Pharmacotherapy is currently the most used treatment but there are many patients who either do not want to use medicine to treat or just want another option. Behavioral therapies & cognitive therapy, either in tandem with medication or as a stand-alone treatment, have shown to be equally effective in many studies and disproven in others. This shows how challenging and debated this topic is today.

How is this thesis and topic compelling (p.108)?

  • This topic has very significant consequences for many people. More and more people are being diagnosed with depression every year. It seems to be an extremely prevalent disorder effecting a large population of the western world/first world. A shift toward behavioral/cognitive therapies would entirely change the way these populations deal with their depression and it may even help to remove some of the stigma that comes with the disorder. If only to prove to people that it is something that you yourself can change rather than needing to rely solely on being medicated for the rest of your life.

In what ways is this thesis and topic debatable or controversial (p. 109)?

  • This topic is extremely debatable. There are ongoing studies being performed by many Psychologists in different Universities around the world as depression is becomes more and more a global phenomenon. Many cultures either don't have the access to phamacotherapies that we have here in the U.S. or just want another way to cope with, and possibly overcome, the symptoms that come with MMD. Cognitive/behavioral therapies used to be common in the days before the use of medication as treatment and many people probably still see these methods as the "old way" of dealing with depression. Medication is also generally seen as easier, both from a patients as well as their psychologists perspective. While there is plenty of evidence to back up the use of medication as treatment, there is also a lot of evidence showing that CT and BT therapies can help to give people the tools they need to deal with the specific symptoms of their own personal depression. However the American Psychological Association is still claiming that pharmacotherapy is the most effective treatment of MDD.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License