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A study by York University academics has revealed computerised CBT (cCBT) does not reduce symptoms of depression.

According to NHS choices Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

Beating the Blues and MoodGYM were the programmes used in the study. Both are recommended by NICE, the public body which creates guidelines for doctors.

The Randomised Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Acceptability of Computerised Therapy (REEACT) was commissioned in 2008. The only previous research, which supported cCBT, had been led by developers.

The study attributed the conflicting results to ‘low adherence and engagement with treatment’. Roughly one in six people finished all the prescribed CBT sessions.

In developer led studies patients were supervised while they completed the sessions.

REEACT, which was published in the BMJ, involved 83 GP practices and 691 patients. They used the PHQ – 9 , a questionnaire commonly used by GPs to identify depression, to select and evaluate patients. The maximum score is 27, but 5-9 indicates depression. People that scored ten or over were accepted for the study.

Shortage of Therapists

“Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave” NHS Choices

Antidepressants are the most commonly used treatment for depression. But CBT, which is evidence based, has emerged as a popular  short term psychological therapy. However demand for CBT cannot be met by the existing numbers of therapists.

Some people are currently waiting over four months for this kind of treatment according to a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) released on the 24 November.

Although the average waiting time was 32 days from referral to the first treatment appointment. The CCG with the longest average waiting time was NHS Blackpool,  over 7 weeks.

The report looks at figures over the last 12 months up until 1 April this year. This is the date that the Government’s guidelines for mental health waiting times came into place. Under the guidelines patients are expected to receive treatment no later than six weeks after their GP referral.

Featured image acreditted to growdigital

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