Self-help books and websites can benefit people with severe
depression and should be included as part of the first line of treatment, a new
For the report, the researchers reviewed several studies that
included a total of nearly 2 500 adult patients with different degrees of
depression who received treatment outside of a hospital.
Patients with more severe depression derived at least as
much benefit from low-intensity interventions - such as self-help books and interactive
websites - as those with less severe depression, according to the report published.
These types of low-intensity interventions are meant to help
patients manage their depressive symptoms, often with limited support from a
health professional, the researchers explained in a journal news release.
The findings indicate that low-intensity interventions
should be included as part of the first step of depression treatment and that
patients should be encouraged to use them, concluded Peter Bower, of the
University of Manchester in England, and colleagues.
The authors also suggested that future research should
examine whether low-intensity treatments are cost-effective compared to longer
and more expensive psychological therapies, and determine how low-intensity
intervention in the first stage of treatment might affect future treatment.
The US National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression.