Depressed Patients Benefit From Cognitive Behavior Therapy
December 7, 2012

Cognitive Behavior Therapy A Good Additional Treatment For Depression

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

A new British study has found that talking to a trained professional could be more powerful in treating depression than previously thought.

According to a research team from the Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Glasgow, these findings could be of great benefit to the two-thirds of people with moderate to severe depression who don´t fully respond to antidepressants. This study, which has been published in The Lancet, has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy, (or CBT) when used together with antidepressants, can not only reduce some symptoms of depression, but can also improve a person´s quality of life.

CBT, a form of talking psychotherapy, has been found to be an effective treatment for other issues, such as anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. This study is now the first large-scale trial to gauge the effectiveness of CBT on these depressed patients when administered along with antidepressants.

In the end, this study was conducted in order to find a sort of “next step” for all those patients who found themselves experiencing the same symptoms even after taking antidepressants.

To conduct this study, the researchers gathered together 469 patients between the ages of 18 and 75 years old. Each of these patients had been diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression. These patients were then split into two different groups: 235 of these patients continued receiving their regular care, including taking antidepressants. The remaining 234 patients also received regular care and antidepressants, but were also treated with CBT.

After 6 months, the researchers followed up with 90% of these patients and 84% of these patients after one year from undergoing this study.

When the researchers checked in at 6 months, 46% of those who received CBT as a part of their treatment reported an improvement in their symptoms of up to 50%. Those who received only their regular care and now CBT reported only a 22% decrease in their depression symptoms after 6 months. These same changes carried over from 6 months to a year.

Dr. Nicola Wiles is the study´s lead author and a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol´s School of Social and Community Medicine.

She explained in a prepared statement that these results will be beneficial to any patients who have not responded to antidepressants.

“Antidepressants are often the first-line treatment for depression, a major public health problem with the World Health Organization estimating that over 300 million people are affected globally. However, in many countries, access to psychological treatments such as CBT is limited to people who can afford to pay, or those with health insurance,” explained Dr. Wiles.

“These findings emphasize the importance of increasing the availability of psychological therapy.”

Dr. Wiles was careful to mention, however, that not all who received the CBT treatment reported an improvement of their symptoms. While CBT was certainly shown to be an effective treatment, it has yet to prove itself as a 100% effective treatment.

Chris Williams, the professor of psychosocial psychiatry at the University of Glasgow also took part in this study and explained his satisfaction with their findings. “This research is also of great importance because it used a CBT intervention alongside treatment with antidepressants. It confirms how these approaches– the psychological and physical–  treatments can complement each other. It was also encouraging because we found the approach worked to good effect across a wide range of people of different ages and living in a variety of settings.”