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For these people with depression, all treatment approaches had failed, but then they adopted a pet

26 November 2018

For people diagnosed with what’s known as “treatment-resistant major depressive disorder” the prognosis is not good – the low mood and emotional pain for these individuals has not lifted even though they are on a combination of antidepressant medications and may also have participated in psychotherapy.

However a glimmer of hope comes via a research group in Portugal who reported recently in the Journal of Psychiatric Research that adopting a pet “enhanced” the effects of anti-depressant medication for a significant minority of their participants with previously treatment-resistant depression.

Jorge Mota Pereira and Daniela Fonte at the Clínica Médico-Psiquiátrica da Ordem in Porto recruited 80 outpatients with severe treatment-resistant depression and invited them to adopt a pet as part of a study into the effects of pet adoption on depression.

Thirty-three of them agreed to do so (20 adopted a dog or dogs, 7 a cat); another 33 who declined were allocated to form a control group.

Read more in a new post by Christian Jarrett on our Research Digest blog.

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