In a pilot study, German researchers investigated whether inpatient treatment of depression is more successful than treatment in a day clinic. However, no significant differences were found, they report in “Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics”.
The study, carried out by the University of Heidelberg, involved 44 patients with major symptoms of depression. They were randomised to either the day clinic or inpatient treatment, but the number of therapy units as well as the therapeutic staff were the same in both groups.
Half of the patients already received medication at the beginning of the study. During the study period, some started to take medication, others changed the dosage, some changed the drug class and others terminated medication during the study period. However, in doing so, no difference between the groups was found.
The severity of depression was reduced during the course of treatment, however, both treatment groups performed equally well. Eight inpatient and six day clinic patients responded positively to treatment, in both groups, three patients reached remission.
Further studies are needed, according to the authors. Since inpatient treatment is significantly more expensive, it would be important to investigate which patient groups benefit more in each setting.