Why Individualized Care Will Become the Gold Standard for Depression Patients

March 6, 2018

In a new paper for the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, researchers Robert DeRubeis, Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences, and Zachary Cohen of Psychology, address precision medicine, also known as customized-care, in the context of treatment for depression. The concept, employed in a number of fields across the healthcare spectrum, still has room for improvement, DeRubeis says.

“There is a tidal wave of interest in and hope for using what we can find out about individuals to direct them to the treatment that’s most helpful," says DeRubeis.

Part of the problem lies in the number of options available for making treatment decisions, says Cohen, who recently completed his doctoral work at Penn.

“It’s important,” Cohen says, “that as a field we take a step back and say, ‘We’re doing it 100 different ways. We’re all asking a similar question but to get a consistent answer, we should take stock.’”

In the U.S., depression affects 16 million people annually, and according to the World Health Organization it’s the leading cause of disability across the globe. Clinicians who treat patients with the disorder understand that different approaches work for different people, but the ability to discern and provide the most effective treatment for a particular individual remains challenging.

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