Guidelines for the long-term treatment of depression
Depression is frequently a recurrent and sometimes a chronic illness. Unfortunately, most research on treatment has focused almost exclusively on the short-term. For example, the majority of clinical trials of medications and psychotherapeutic approaches last only 6 to 16 weeks. Relatively little research has been conducted on continuation treatment (usually 3-6 months) to prevent relapses and on maintenance treatment (6-24 months) to prevent recurrences. This paper will review continuation and maintenance phase pharmacotherapeutic trials and will make recommendations for clinical treatment of patients during these periods.