Off the hook: relapse prevention using psychological interventions for depression and its implications for other common mental health disorders
Depression is a highly prevalent recurrent disorder, although this might hold for most psychopathological conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what mechanisms contribute to relapse. Questions that might have direct clinical implications like, Does each depressive episode leave a cognitive and/or affective scar, that makes people more vulnerable for the next ?, will be discussed. Attention will be paid to the merit of psychological treatment versus antidepressant medication as treatment for depression in terms of endurance of effects after stopping this treatment. In addition, several effective sequential brief psychological relapse prevention strategies will be discussed. Outcomes of recent randomized controlled trials will be presented including self help interventions, internet baased intervention and face to face psychological interventions. Moreover, recent results will be presented that will shed light on the question whether psychological interventions are an alternative for long term use of antidepressants. Further, indications will be given on what type of preventive treatment can be best given to whom. Finally, the transfer of these findings to treatment of other common mental health disorders will be discussed and future innovative developments.