Veterans benefit from CBT designed for their depression


A new study shows that veterans of all ages benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for depression (CBT-D) when they have been diagnosed with the condition.

According to the study, there are significant reductions in depressive symptoms for both older and younger veterans who use CBT-D.

Examining symptoms

The study is among the first to compare changes in depression and quality of life among veterans. The study was also among the first to examine the therapeutic alliance in both younger and older adults by using a large, diverse national sample of veterans.

The study was led by Bradley Karlin, Ph.D., at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Previous studies found that older adults were using mental health services at a rate much lower than younger adults.

“Untreated depression in older adults is associated with poorer quality of life, significantly increased mortality, increased suicide rates exacerbation of and/or delay in recovery from medical illness, and considerable economic, social family, and overall societal costs,” stated the study authors.

This study underscored the promise and effectiveness of CBT-D in treating depression and providing positive encouragement to older adults who sought treatment.

Symptoms significantly reduced

The study followed 864 veterans, 100 of whom were 65 years old or older. They were all seeking treatment through the Veterans Health Administration. The CBT-D treatment protocol was specifically developed for military service veterans and intended to be administered in 12 to 16 individual sessions.

Approximately 68 percent of the patients completed the sessions or finished early when they reported symptom relief. There was a reduction of nearly 40 percent of depression symptoms as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II test.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, The Journals of Gerontology


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