Spotlight Post #3: Option 3

Major Depressive Disorder is a disorder in which a person feels down during most of the day for two weeks or more. This disorder is often debilitating and is a constant struggle for many people around the world. The two main types of treatment are the use of medication and the use of psychotherapy. Both have positives and negatives. I will be focusing on the positives for both forms of treatment through this blog post.

The first form of treatment I am going to look at is the use of psychotherapy to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). In a study, it was found that after twelve weeks of psychotherapy the symptoms had significantly decreased (Dahl, pg. 43). It has also been found that after recovery from non-pharmacological treatment, there were normalized levels of different types of cytokines (Dahl, pg 40). Cytokines are major proteins that play a huge role in the immune system along with cell-cell signaling. They help to regulate homeostasis and maintain a sense of balance within the body. The medicated group also had a decrease in cytokine levels, however, these level reductions did not reach significance (Dahl, pg. 44). In a different study, it was found that in general, MDD patients showed significant improvement in the expected direction in mood (Eddington et al., pg. 274). The final point that shows that psychotherapy is the better form of treatment for patients with MDD is that after therapy, they “reported significant improvements in affect and cognition and social functioning and activities” (Eddington, pg. 273).

The second form of treatment for patients with MDD is the use of pharmacological treatment. It was found that second generation are supported with great strength evidence that they are highly effective (Gartlehner et al.). It also was stated that much of the non-pharmacological treatments were not scientifically supported with evidence. This ultimately makes the use of non-pharmacological treatments seem less effective and supported (Gartlehner et al.). It was found that there was a significant decrease in suicidal action with the use of pharmacological treatments (Kim, pg. 119).

In my opinion, I believe that therapy-based treatment is ultimately the better option with treating MDD. This is because I believe that there is ultimately more scientific evidence to support the benefits of therapeutic treatment. The treatment is also less physically invasive, yet it provides a larger physiological response compared to pharmacological treatments. Also, this has been shown to improve social interactions and things along those lines. This is while pharmacological treatment does not improve the social aspect of people’s lives. Several of the sources made the statement that their results could be skewed because they had a small sample size. This cut down on the accountability of the research because this means that the information cannot be applied to a large group of people. Also, it allows for a higher chance for an error to be made and to slip through the cracks. Overall, the sources were very open about the possibility of error or bias throughout the sources.




Dahl, J., et al. “Recovery from Major Depressive Disorder Episode after Non‐pharmacological Treatment Is Associated with Normalized Cytokine Levels.” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, vol. 134, no. 1, July 2016, pp. 40–47. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/acps.12576.


Eddington, Kari M., et al. “The Effects of Psychotherapy for Major Depressive Disorder on Daily Mood and Functioning: A Longitudinal Experience Sampling Study.” Cognitive Therapy and Research, vol. 41, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 266–277. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10608-016-9816-7.


Gartlehner, Gerald, et al. “Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological Treatments for Major Depressive Disorder: Review of Systematic Reviews.” BMJ Open, vol. 7, no. 6, June 2017, p. e014912. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014912.


Kim, Yong-Ku. Major Depressive Disorder : Risk Factors, Characteristics and Treatment Options. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2017. EBSCOhost,




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