Press Information

Press Information

European Congress of Psychiatry – press release

Psychotherapy found to be ineffective or unavailable for medicated patients with severe depression
Embargo until: 00.05 CEST, Sunday 5th June

Type of study: Peer-reviewed (mostly)*/observational study/people

Antidepressants are the first-choice treatment for severe depression. Antidepressant use is often supplemented by psychotherapy. Now a major ongoing international study has shown that adding psychotherapy treatment to antidepressant medication does not improve treatment outcomes in severely depressed patients. The study, presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry*, also found that those patients with severe depression who were also treated with additional psychotherapy tended to be younger, more often employed, more highly educated, and have less severe initial depression than those who were treated with antidepressant medication exclusively.

Rates of clinical depression have doubled in the last 30 years, with the WHO estimating that around 322 million people suffer worldwide. This is roughly equivalent to the total populations of Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the UK combined. Around a third of severe depression, sufferers don’t respond well to therapy; they are ‘treatment resistant’, meaning that clinicians need to look for ways to improve current treatments.

The new study performed in European patients with major depression (clinically known as Major Depressive Disorder, MDD) treated under real-world conditions has found that around 1 in 3 patients treated with antidepressant medication also receive psychotherapy – non-pharmacological treatment, where patients discuss their condition with a qualified doctor or therapist. Around ¾ of these patients treated with both, antidepressant medication and psychotherapy, underwent Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Please, click on the button to download the full document and text. 

European Congress of Psychiatry – Press Release

Babies exposed to COVID in the womb show neurodevelopmental changes

Embargo until: 00.05 CEST, Monday 6th June 2022

Type of research: not peer-reviewed/observational study/people

Babies born to mothers who suffered COVID-19 disease during pregnancy seem to exhibit differences in neurodevelopmental outcomes at 6 weeks, according to a preliminary analysis presented in the 30th European Congress of Psychiatry.

Project Leader Dr Rosa Ayesa Arriola said: “Not all babies born to mothers infected with COVID show neurodevelopmental differences, but our data shows that their risk is increased in comparison to those not exposed to COVID in the womb. We need a bigger study to confirm the exact extent of the difference”.

Researchers found that babies born to mothers who had been infected show greater difficulties in relaxing and adapting their bodies when they are being held, when compared to infants from non-infected mothers, especially when infection took place in late pregnancy. Moreover, infants born from infected mothers tend to show greater difficulty in controlling head and shoulder movement. These alterations suggest a possible COVID-19 effect on motor function (movement control).

Please, click on the button below to download the full document and text. 

European Congress of Psychiatry- Press release

Covid-19 conspiracy theories associated with depression

Embargo until: 00.05 CEST, Tuesday 7th June 2022


Type of research: peer reviewed/observational study/people

The Global COVID-19 pandemic has been marked by a significant minority of people expressing conspiratorial beliefs. Now a new study has shown that these beliefs may be harmful, especially to those who are prone to anxiety and depression. This work is presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry, with simultaneous peer-reviewed publication*.

Surveys have shown that huge numbers of people are open to conspiratorial beliefs about COVID-19. Survey in the US found that around a quarter of Americans believe that the outbreak was “intentionally planned by powerful people”. In major European counties (Germany, France, Italy and the UK), between 30% and 40% of people believe that government is taking the chance to control citizens, or working with the pharmaceutical industry to conceal vaccine effects**.

Please, click on the button below to download the full document and text. 

European Congress of Psychiatry – Press Release

New study shows fewer suicide attempts in women using hormonal contraceptives

Embargo until: 00.05 CEST Tuesday 7th June 2022

Type of Research: not peer reviewed/observational study/people

Hormonal contraceptives, such as the birth control pill, are amongst the most widely used pharmaceutical products. Recent studies had suggested that hormonal contraceptives were associated with a higher risk of attempted suicides, prompting concerns about safety. Now a new in-depth study shows that rates of attempted suicides in women using hormonal contraception are actually lower than in women who do not use hormonal contraception.

Presenting the research at the European Congress of Psychiatry, Lead Researcher, Dr Elena Toffol (University of Helsinki) said:

“We set out to verify previous data, so this is not what we expected, and it’s good news for contraceptive users”. She continued: “Women, especially younger women, have higher rates of depression and attempted suicide than men of similar ages. Many women using hormonal contraceptives, especially contraceptive pills, report mood changes as a side effect. Initial reports from 2018 and 2020 had indicated that use of hormonal contraceptives was associated with a higher number / risk of suicides and suicide attempts. We set out to confirm this data”.

Please, click the button to download the full document and text.