Talk your way out of depression

Cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT] can reduce symptoms of depression in people who fail to respond to drug treatment

Depressed woman
CBT helps people recover from depression, says study in respected medical Journal Lancet

Lancet, one of the world's best known, oldest, and most respected general medical journals has heralded Cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT] as an effective therapy in reducing depression symptoms and improving patients’ in quality of life.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is:

  • a way of talking about how you think about yourself, the world and other people
  • how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings

CBT can help you to change how you think [cognitive] and what you do [behaviour]. Unlike some other talking treatments, it focuses on the ‘here and now’ instead of the causes of distress or past symptoms.

CBT was found to benefit nearly half of the 234 patients who received it combined with normal care from their GP. It is deemed that up to two-thirds of people with depression do not respond to anti-depressants. The researchers followed 469 patients with treatment-resistant depression picked from GP practices in Bristol, Exeter and Glasgow over 12 months. One group of patients continued with their usual care from their GP, which could include anti-depressant medication, while the second group was also treated with CBT. After six months, researchers found 46 per cent of those who had received CBT reported at least a 50 per cent reduction in their symptoms. The improvements had been maintained for a period of 12 months, it added.

However, Dr. Nicola Wiles from the University of Bristol added that only CBT as a treatment might not be as effective for chronic depression patients. Till date, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ treatment for depression; however, this research is important because it confirms how these approaches--the psychological and physical--can complement each other. It is particularly encouraging because it recognises that patients should have the right to a wide range of treatment options based on individual needs.

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