Author(s): Highet N, Drummond P
OBJECTIVE: To compare existing community treatments for post-partum depression (PPD), treatment efficacy was evaluated for 146 women seeking treatment for PPD in the local community. METHODS: Self-report questionnaires were designed to assess clinical depression and anxiety (psychological and physiological), risk factors, treatment satisfaction and the impact of social supports. RESULTS: Comparison of treated subjects with those on a wait-list demonstrated that depression and the psychological component of anxiety decreased significantly after treatment. Psychological and pharmacological interventions produced similar clinical benefit in the treatment of psychological symptoms, and receiving both treatments in combination was of no added clinical benefit in the immediate or longer term. Individual treatment was associated with more rapid treatment gains initially than group treatment. However, the benefits of group treatment emerged during the 6 months following treatment, leading both interventions to be equally effective in the longer term. Cognitive behavioural therapy was not superior to the combination of non-specific counselling or behavioural strategies, either immediately following treatment or 6 months later. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical efficacy together with other clinical and financial benefits strongly advocate the application of psychological treatment for PPD. Clear parallels between PPD and general depression support the application of knowledge about general depression to extend understanding of PPD and refine clinical management practices.