Harvard Mental Health Letter (May 2006) has a useful article on “Drug treatment of bipolar disorder.”

Here’s the article

One of the most troublesome psychiatric disorders has begun to succumb, in part, to medications. Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder is a challenge for physicians and psychiatrists because of its varied, severe, and constantly changing symptoms. But many drug treatments are available and can be adapted to the needs of individual patients.

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Florida State University issued the following news release:

Media Perpetuates Unsubstantiated Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression

The theory that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance is often
presented in the media as fact even though there is little scientific
evidence to support it, according to a new study co-authored by a
Florida State University visiting lecturer.

Jeffrey Lacasse, an FSU doctoral candidate and visiting lecturer in the
College of Social Work, and Jonathan Leo, a neuroanatomy professor at
Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, found that reporters who
included statements in news articles about depression being caused by a
chemical imbalance, or a lack of serotonin in the brain, were unable to
provide scientific evidence to support those statements.

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The new issue of *Journal of Affective Disorders* (vol 110, #3) includes
an article: “A meta-analysis of psychotherapy and medication in unipolar
depression and dysthymia.”

Zac Imel, Melanie Malterer, Kevin McKay, and Bruce Wampold are the authors.

Conclusions: Our results indicated that both psychotherapy and
medication are viable treatments for unipolar depression and that
psychotherapy may offer a prophylactic effect not provided by
medication. However, our analyses diverged from previous findings in
that effects were not consistent and medication was significantly more
efficacious than psychotherapy in the treatment of dysthymia.

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*Journal of Affective Disorders* (vol. 109, #1-2;
July 2008 ) includes an article: “Efficacy of interpersonal psychotherapy plus
pharmacotherapy in chronically depressed inpatients.”

The article is by Elisabeth Schramm, Daniel Schneider, Ingo Zobel,
Dietrich van Calker, Petra Dykierek, Martin Harter, & Mathias Berger.

Here’s the abstract:

Background: Clinical guidelines recommend the combination of pharmaco-
and psychotherapy for the treatment of chronic depression, although
there are only a few studies supporting an additive effect of psychotherapy.

Methods: Forty-five inpatients with a chronic Major Depressive Disorder
were randomized to 5 weeks of either Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
modified for an inpatient setting (15 individual and 8 group sessions)
plus pharmacotherapy or to medication plus Clinical Management (CM). The
17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression was the primary outcome
measure. The study included a prospective naturalistic follow-up, 3- and
12-months after discharge.

Results: Intent-to-treat analyses revealed a significantly greater
reduction of depressive symptoms as well as better global functioning of
patients treated with IPT compared to the CM group at week 5. Response
and sustained response rates differed significantly between the two
treatment conditions, favouring the IPT group. Remission rates were
considerably higher for IPT patients who completed the treatment (67%
vs. 32%). Patients who initially responded to IPT exhibited greater
treatment gains at 12 months since only 7% of these subjects relapsed
compared with 25% of the CM subjects. In the long-term, additional IPT
led to a lower symptom level and higher global functioning.

Limitations: The study uses data of a subset of patients from a larger
trial. Both treatment groups did not receive comparable amounts of
therapeutic attention. Extrapolating the data from this inpatient study
to chronically depressed outpatients may not be possible. Conclusions:
Intensive combined treatment provides superior acute and long-term
effects over standard treatment in chronically depressed inpatients.