[Behavioral activation programs: A tool for treating depression efficiently].

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[Behavioral activation programs: A tool for treating depression efficiently].

Encephale. 2018 Feb;44(1):59-66

Authors: Dondé C, Moirand R, Carre A

INTRODUCTION: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a debilitating disorder, and its treatment often requires complex and costly psychological therapies. Behavioral activation (BA) is a simple, effective and affordable psychotherapy recommended in the treatment of MDD.
OBJECTIVES: (i) Explain the theoretical basis of BA and its application in clinical practice. (ii) Review the randomized controlled trials examining BA as a treatment for MDD through a systematic search of the existing literature.
METHODS: Medline and ClinicalTrials databases were searched with the following keywords: ("behavioral activation" OR "behavioural activation") AND ("therapy" OR "psychotherapy"). (i) Articles describing BA's theoretical foundations and principles of therapy were selected. (ii) Randomized controlled trials studying BA as a treatment for depression were selected according to the PRISMA criteria.
RESULTS: (i) BA is a behavioral therapy that helps patients to increase their behaviors towards rewarding and/or pleasant activities, and to decrease avoidant behaviors maintaining negative affects by negative reinforcement. BA also tends to increase behaviors towards life-goals used as positive reinforcement contingencies. BA is a brief and cost effective therapy, which can be evaluated by specific psychometric scales. (ii) BA has a strong therapeutic effect in MDD as evaluated by several randomized controlled trials of good quality.
CONCLUSION: BA is a simple, affordable and effective treatment for MDD. Data is insufficient to provide proof for the interest of using commitment to life-goals as reinforcement contingencies. Behavioral inhibition is encountered amongst several psychiatric disorders and more studies should be conducted to discuss its use for other diseases such as schizophrenia or anxiety disorders.

PMID: 28431689 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]