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CBT works: a Spanish study

Friday 27 May 2011

A recent study has produced further evidence which suggests that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the best treatment available for a number of mental disorders. 

Previous investigations have demonstrated that CBT works, though it is still scrutinised by mental healthcare professionals.  CBT is a patient-led treatment which aims to help patients cope with destructive thoughts and feelings and give them the skills to deal with the ‘here and now’. 

Dr Miguel Fullana, from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s and lead author of the study, said: ‘I believe the research is important because it can be used to address an ongoing concern amongst healthcare professionals over an apparent gap between solid scientific evidence supporting CBT and its relevant, practical use in the clinic.’

In the review, the scientists assessed data on the efficacy of CBT in some of the most common mental disorders such as; major depression, and anxiety disorders.  Comparisons were drawn between different treatments, for example, placebo drugs, combined treatments (CBT plus drugs) and other psychological treatments, through a systematic review of the literature available until 2010.

The research was conducted in Spain and can be used to highlight the varying knowledge of CBT throughout the world.  Dr Fullana, a Spanish national, said: ‘I hope this research may help to promote knowledge of CBT among Spanish health professionals and to better disseminate CBT treatments among patients.’

‘We conclude that the evidence for CBT with regard to its efficacy in the treatment of the majority of common mental disorders (e.g. anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depression) in both adults, children and adolescents is robust.’

More methodologically sound research is still needed for some disorders.

Miss Lorena Fernández, also at the IoP was a co-author of the study.

Eficacia de la terapia cognitivo-conductual para los trastornos mentales’ (Efficacy of cognitive-behaviour therapy for mental disorders) is published in Medicina Clinica.

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