Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors, MFTs

Major Depressive Disorder: Nonpharmacological Versus Pharmacological Treatments


Course Description: This course compares the benefits and harms of second-generation antidepressants (SGAs), psychological, complementary and alternative medicine, and exercise treatment options as first-step interventions for adult outpatients with acute-phase major depressive disorder (MDD), and as second-step interventions for patients with MDD who did not achieve remission after a first treatment attempt with SGAs. Overall, the available evidence indicates that SGAs and CBT do not differ significantly in symptomatic relief as first-step treatments for adult outpatients with moderate to severe MDD. SGAs, in general, lead to a higher risk of adverse events than nonpharmacological treatment options.

Learning Objectives:

  • Analyze the evidence in the research literature addressing the effectiveness of pharmacological and nonpharmacological intervention for major depressive disorder
  • Analyze the applicability and limitations of the research findings for major depressive disorder

Course Components:

  • Online text (included)
  • Multiple choice online exam (included)
  • Electronic certificate of completion (free)

Course Credit(s): 1 CE Credit or Hour

Course Format: Online Text (format of this course is noninteractive)

Course Schedule: Self-paced

Course Author(s): Gerald Gartlehner, MD, MPH, Bradley N. Gaynes, MD, MPH, Halle R. Amick, MSPH, Gary Asher, MD, MPH, Laura C. Morgan, MA, Emmanuel Coker-Schwimmer, MPH, Catherine Forneris, PhD, ABPP, Erin Boland, BA, Linda J. Lux, MPA, Susan Gaylord, PhD, Carla Bann, PhD, Christiane Barbara Pierl, PhD, MPH, and Kathleen N. Lohr, PhD, MPhil, MA

Content Publisher(s): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Course Author(s) Qualifications:

Dr. Gartlehner is Director of Cochrane Austria and head of the Department for Evidence-based Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology at the Danube University, Krems, Austria. He is also the Associate Director of the RTI – University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center and a research fellow at the University of North Carolina Sheps Center for Health Services Research.

Dr. Gaynes is a Professor and the Associate Chair of Research Training and Education in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His post-graduate training has included a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Fellowship at the University of North Carolina, where he also received his Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and completed a fellowship in Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Asher is Director of Integrative Medicine Services at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Assistant Director of the Chatham Hospital Emergency Department. He has been a practitioner, teacher, and researcher in the field of Integrative Medicine for over 20 years.

Dr. Forneris is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. She is a graduate of the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is currently a diplomate with the American Board of Professional Psychology and a member of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

Dr. Gaylord is an Adjunct Associate Professor for Department of Health Behavior, Director of Program on Integrative Medicine at UNC’s School of Medicine, and Adjunct Associate Professor for Department of Family Medicine.

Dr. Bann is an expert in statistics and psychometrics with more than 12 years of experience in psychometric analysis, scale and index development, program evaluation, and statistical analysis of behavioral data.

Dr. Lohr, PhD, has 40 years of experience in health services and policy research. She was the founding director of the RTI International–University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center and is now senior advisor to the EPC. or several years at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Dr. Lohr held the rank of Research Professor, Health Policy and Administration; she remains an adjunct professor in Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health and Senior Research Fellow at the UNC Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. 

Course Level: Beginning/Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced

CEmobile, LLC, #1558, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. CEmobile, LLC maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 05/02/2017 – 05/02/2018. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.
Social workers participating in this course will receive 1 clinical continuing education clock hours.

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