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Depression: Gaps & Guideposts

Summary of Findings (continued)

Treatment Discontinuation

Fifty percent of people living with depression have found medication to be "extremely" or "quite a bit helpful" and 36 percent have found psychotherapy or counseling to be helpful as well.

When a person discontinues treatment-any treatment-the reasons can be complex or pose cause for concern. It is worth taking a closer, comparative look at some of the top reasons reported for discontinuations of each treatment. The responses were revealing measuring relative proportions between factors such as choice, cost, effectiveness, side-effects and social support.

Cost is a common factor (i.e. 27 percent of the time in the case of psychotherapy or counseling and 21 percent for medication, pointing to the need for greater access to coverage), but it is not the dominant factor

  • In the case of medication, physical and sexual side effects are significant (26 percent), which points to the need to ensure that individuals have a range of choices to select the one that works best for them as well as for improved medications with fewer or no side effects.

Psychotherapy or counseling

Didn't feel like it was working 35%
Too expensive; couldn't afford it 27%
Got better and didn't need it anymore 24%
Wanted to see if I could "make it on my own 20%
Didn't like my health care provider 19%
I couldn't find a good health care provider 14%
Preferred alternative form of treatment 13%
No support from family or friends 6%


Wanted to see if I could "make it on my own 35%
Physical or sexual side effects 26%
Too expensive; couldn't afford it 21%
Didn't like taking a pill every day 17%
Didn't feel much of a difference 16%
Never felt like I received the right medication or dosage 16%
Got better and didn't need it anymore 13%
Provider recommended it 7%
Increased thoughts of death/suicide 7%
No support from family or friends 6%
Preferred alternative treatment 4%


Almost half (48 percent) of caregivers have been diagnosed with depression, although at the time of the survey, only about 25 percent were engaged in treatment. The survey did not explore reasons. Less than 20 percent of individuals living with depression reported receiving specific assistance from caregivers. But caregivers identified these most common forms:

Help with household chores 53%
Transportation 38%
Meal preparation 34%
Medication monitoring 34%
Money or financial support 33%
Money management 27%
Housing 20%

Caregivers also reported major challenges, including:

Managing time effectively 33%
Finding time for themselves 33%
Finding time to take care of their own health 31%
Making ends meet financially 29%
Feeling taken advantage of by the person 24%
Finding specialized services 24%
Accessing the health care system 23%

Overview | Summary of Findings | Summary of Findings Pt. 2 | Methodology and Acknowledgements

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