Activation Therapy for Inpatient Depression

Status: Complete
Year: 2017
Funded: $84,135
Grant Type: Major Project Grant
Mental Health

Patients with severe depression who require admission to an in-patient psychiatric unit usually have serious impairment in many areas of functioning, particularly cognitive function (memory, concentration, planning). Impaired cognition has significant impacts on the person’s ability to function generally, including performing activities of daily living, occupational and interpersonal functioning.

These cognitive problems do not usually recover with standard treatments but in-patient admission is a chance for patients to receive intensive psychological therapy for these cognitive problems and to accelerate mood response, but such therapy rarely happens, partly because there is limited time and little evidence about what type of therapy helps.

We have designed Activation Therapy (AT), a package of intensive psychological treatment combining cognitive activation (targeted computerised cognitive exercises to improve cognitive performance) with behavioural activation (scheduling and encouraging activity to improve mood). We believe this treatment package may improve outcomes for in-patients with depression, particularly cognitive functioning and general functioning, may speed up mood recovery and reduce the likelihood of re-admission.

The proposed study is a pilot randomised controlled trial to examine the likely effect size difference between the two interventions and to refine the cognitive testing battery to be used in the larger scale study.

Researcher // Dr Cameron Lacey – University of Otago

Dr Cameron Lacey (Te Atiawa), is a Senior lecturer at MIHI (UOC), psychiatrist working in old age psychiatry and medical director for Westcoast DHB. He has clinical and research experience working with Māori and whānau. His research includes Hauora Māori, psychological medicine, cardiovascular disease, neurology and medical education.

More About Dr Cameron Lacey

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

0 %
Of New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with depression at some time in their lives.
0 %
Depression rates are significantly higher amongst women than men.
0 %
Of women aged between 35-44 years have suffered depression.
0 %
Anxiety and depressive disorders are the second leading cause of health loss for New Zealanders.

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