Words offer insight into depression therapy

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DEPRESSION sufferers who write about their feelings could predict whether or not therapy will work on them, say scientists at the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Joerg Zinken and colleagues in the psychology department have published a study into whether guided self-help – the usual therapy for depression – works.

The findings could help reduce drop-out rates of people referred to mental health units as well as speed up decisions on which treatment to offer.

They could also help people with depression as therapy not working may make the problem worse.

Dr Zinken said: ‘We have found the way people express themselves can help predict how likely a person is to complete a programme of guided self-help.

‘Patients who write in a telegram style with very short isolated statements tend not to benefit from guided self-help, while those who try to relate past events to one another and to their own feelings about these events are more likely to benefit.’