Objective: The authors' goal was to determine whether cognitive behavioral treatment of residual symptoms of depression might have a significant effect on relapse rate.
Method: In an earlier study, 40 patients with primary major depressive disorder who had been successfully treated with antidepressant drugs were randomly assigned to either cognitive behavioral treatment of residual symptoms or standard clinical management. In both types of treatment, antidepressant drugs were gradually tapered and discontinued. In this study, a 4-year follow-up assessment was performed.
Results: Cognitive behavioral treatment resulted in a substantially lower relapse rate (35%) than did clinical management (70%).
Conclusions: Cognitive behavioral treatment of residual symptoms reduces the risk of relapse in depressed patients, probably by affecting the progression of residual symptoms to prodromes of relapse.