CBT: An Effective Treatment for Depression

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Results from the first large-scale clinical study to test the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of depression found that CBT can reduce symptoms of depression and help improve quality of life when combined with antidepressant medication.

These results are significant given the fact that up to two-thirds of people with depression are not adequately treated with antidepressants alone. This study was published in The Lancet, the world’s leading general medical journal.

Study Overview

Researchers from Bristol, Exeter and Glasgow at the National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme recruited a total of 469 patients with treatment-resistant depression between the ages of 18 and 75.

Patients were randomized into two treatment groups. Approximately half of the study participants continued their usual treatment with their general practitioner, which included prescription antidepressants. The other half of the participants were treated with both antidepressants and CBT.

Participants were evaluated at two points during the study: at six months and again at 12 months. Progress was compared between the two study groups at these two points in time.

Study Outcome

After six months of treatment, 46 percent of those who underwent CBT in addition to standard care with antidepressants reported at least a 50 percent reduction in symptoms of depression, compared to 22 percent of the study participants who received only antidepressants to treat the symptoms of depression. The benefits of CBT were maintained over the course of the 12-month study.

Researchers conclude that CBT – in addition to treatment with standard antidepressant medication – is an effective treatment that reduces the burdensome symptoms of depression. Furthermore, CBT was shown to improve the quality of life in patients whose depression had not yet responded to antidepressant medications.

Source: University of Bristol Press Release


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