Prevention of Relapse and Recurrence in Depression: The Role of Long-Term Pharmacotherapy and Psychotherapy

Andrew A. Nierenberg, Timothy J. Petersen, Jonathan E. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

72 Scopus citations


Major depressive disorder is a chronic disorder, frequently characterized by relapses and recurrences. One of the major risk factors for additional episodes of depression is the presence of residual symptoms that persist after a depressive episode ends; these residual symptoms tend to progress to another depressive episode. Although relapse or recurrence may be prevented with long-term pharmacotherapy, this approach is recommended only for patients at high risk of relapse or recurrence. Patients not at high risk who are effectively treated to full remission have a substantially lower risk of developing another depressive episode. In addition, psychotherapy, alone or combined with medication, has been shown to be effective in preventing further episodes of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue numberSUPPL. 15
StatePublished - Dec 8 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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