Journal List > J Korean Med Assoc > v.54(4) > 1042418

Park: Non-pharmacological treatment for depression


In treatment of depression, non-pharmacological treatment is as important as pharmacological treatment. However, in clinical practice in Korea, non-pharmacological treatment is not provided sufficiently and patients are not satisfied with psychiatric interviews. Accordingly, patients ask for more information from clinicians. Clinicians should be aware of the characteristics of depression in Korean patients, because the manifestations of symptoms are influenced by cultural factors. In particular, depressed patients complain about somatic symptoms more frequently than they complain about depressed mood itself. In order to establish a therapeutic relationship with depressed patients, clinicians should be aware of these characteristics of depressed patients and clinicians should also address the needs of their patients. The author introduces evidence-based self-care methods for Korean patients with depression. St. John's wort, acupuncture, air ionization, light therapy, massage bibliotherapy, exercise, meditation, relaxation, and yoga can be helpful for overcoming depression. Among them, the Clinical Research Center for Depression, an organization supported by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, has recommended several non-pharmacological treatments for depression. First of all, exercise, such as walking more than 30 min. everyday, is strongly recommended. Other recommendations include bibliotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and short-term psychodynamic supportive psychotherapy. For the nationwide management of depression, social bias against the treatment of depression should be reduced and non-pharmacological treatment for depression should be encouraged.


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