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Treatment Recommendations Versus Treatment Realities: Recognizing the Rift and Understanding the Consequences

Ellen Frank, PhD; and Rajinder Judge, MD

Published: January 8, 2001

Article Abstract

Depression is a treatable disorder, although it often requires long-term therapy. To aid physiciansin the effective long-term management of depression, treatment guidelines have been established by anumber of organizations with minimum treatment duration recommendations. Unfortunately, numerousstudies document a significant disparity between these recommendations and clinical practice realities.In particular, studies have shown that fewer than half of treated patients receive the recommendedduration of 6 months of continuation therapy. Other clinical practice studies have reportedthat early discontinuation from therapy is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of relapseor recurrence. Long-term treatment of depression in clinical practice settings may benefit from acloser approximation to the conditions found in clinical trial settings.

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