What is the study about?
This study aims to help individuals with depression whose condition has not been satisfactorily improved by previous treatments. These treatments may include medication, psychological therapy or both.
The study is evaluating the role of psychoanalytic psychotherapy as a treatment for this condition. The treatment is weekly and it lasts for eighteen months.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy sets out to address the personal and psychological issues which we think underlie chronic depression. Clinical experience and existing research indicate that psychoanalytic therapies work, but further investigation is needed into how effective they are for those with long-term treatment-resistant depression.
What will come out of the study?
The lack of randomised controlled trials in psychoanalytic psychotherapy is currently a barrier to developing better services for those requiring care.The Tavistock Adult Depression Study (TADS) aims to produce findings which develop:
- specific understanding of how effective this form of treatment is in improving long-term treatment-resistant depression
- a deeper understanding of the nature of this condition and of how it can be improved
- a deeper understanding of the way in which this therapy works.
The findings of TADS will contribute to the development of evidence-based medicine (EBM) in respect of the most common mental disorder. They will help the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) as it further develops its recommendations for the treatment of depression.
What is the research design and methodology?
The TADS is a pragmatic randomised controlled trial, comparing a group who receive 18 months of once-weekly psychoanalytic psychotherapy to a control group, who receive treatment as usual from their primary care providers. The study includes a two-year follow-up after treatment completion. In order to match the complexity of both the condition and the treatment model under investigation, the main outcome trial is complemented by clinical research and qualitative research methodology. For a comprehensive overview of the study design, please see our protocol paper.
Where we are now?
The TADS started in 2002. We stopped recruitment into the trial in March 2010 and completed the treatment/review period in December 2011. The two-year follow-up period will thus be completed in December 2013.
Current Research Team
Principal Investigator: Professor Peter Fonagy
Clinical Director: Dr David Taylor
Project Coordinator: Ms Felicitas Rost
Assistant Psychologist: Ms Hannah Ridsdale
Research Clinician: Dr Rachel Thomas
Who to contact?
Project coordinator: Ms Felicitas Rost
Phone: 020 89382038
Post: Psychotherapy Evaluation Research Unit (PERU), 94 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BE