Is a Combination of Pharmacotherapy and Psychotherapy Superior to Each Alone?

  • Kwang-Yeon Choi
  • Yong-Ku KimEmail author


Current evidence supports the idea that a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy is superior for treating depression than each treatment alone. Here, we provide neurobiological explanations to advocate for combination therapy over each therapy alone, from the perspective of neuroplasticity. Furthermore, we assert that there is still room for improvement in this strategy. In psychotherapy, clinical practice can be improved based on our knowledge of memory reconsolidation. Memory retrieval-driven reconsolidation-updating processes enable past emotional memories to be updated by new information. In pharmacotherapy, different classes of pharmacologic agents, such as antidepressants and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, are known to enhance neuroplasticity. A reconsolidation-targeted, time-limited combination of drugs will synergistically enhance neuroplasticity, safely and tolerably. Improving the accessibility of psychotherapeutic therapies with more flexibility in time and place is important.


Reconsolidation Psychotherapy Combined therapy Antidepressant HDAC inhibitor Valproate 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, College of MedicineChungnam National UniversityDaejeonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, College of MedicineChungnam National University HospitalDaejeonSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, College of MedicineKorea UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryKorea University Ansan HospitalAnsanSouth Korea

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