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Psychotherapy Is Effective but Underutilized, Review Shows

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firemonkee57

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Psychotherapy is effective, helps reduce the overall need for health services and produces long-term health improvements, according to a review of research studies conducted by the American Psychological Association.


Yet, the use of psychotherapy to treat people with mental and behavioral health issues decreased over the last decade while the use of medications to address such problems has increased, according to government and insurance industry data.

"Every day, consumers are bombarded with ads that tout drugs as the answer to their problems. Our goal is to help consumers weigh those messages with research-based information about how psychotherapy can provide them with safe, effective and long-lasting improvements in their mental and physical health," said Melba J. T. Vazquez, PhD, past president of the American Psychological Association who led the psychotherapy effectiveness review project.

As a result of the effectiveness review project, the Association's Council of Representatives last week adopted a resolution on psychotherapy effectiveness. The resolution cites more than 50 peer-reviewed studies on psychotherapy and its effectiveness in treating a spectrum of health issues and with a variety of populations, including children, members of minority groups and the elderly.

The resolution also states Key findings of the resolution:

• Research demonstrates that psychotherapy is effective for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues and across a spectrum of population groups. The average effects of psychotherapy are larger than the effects produced by many medical treatments.

• Large multi-site and meta-analytic studies have demonstrated that psychotherapy reduces disability, morbidity and mortality; improve work functioning; and decrease psychiatric hospitalization.

• Psychotherapy teaches patients life skills that last beyond the course of treatment. The results of psychotherapy tend to last longer than psychopharmacological treatments and rarely produce harmful side effects

• While medication is appropriate in some instances, research shows that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often most effective in treating depression and anxiety. It should also be noted that the effects produced by psychotherapy, including those for different age groups and across a spectrum of mental and physical health disorders, are often comparable to or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders without the potential for harmful side effects that drugs often carry.



Psychotherapy is effective but underutilized, review shows


Interesting but just goes to show propaganda hyping psychological approaches occurs just as it does for pharmaceutical approaches .
 
Rod Whiteley

Rod Whiteley

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Part of the trouble is that any treatment's efficacy under the controlled conditions of a clinical trial is likely to be different from its effectiveness in general use. That article doesn't properly address the issue of efficacy versus effectiveness.

Recent figures for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) programme in England show an effectiveness in general use of only a little over 10% (with a lot of variation from place to place). Psychotherapy works far better under controlled conditions. Propaganda articles like that don't help anyone to design better real-life services.

Perceived IAPT performance, and some other posts in my blog, go into more detail about IAPT.
 
pepecat

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Interesting blog post rod, though i have to say i didn't entirely understand it......
Also had a look at the IAPT programme where i am, and via a gp site it says the programme is delivered in part by the MH trust, but there's nothing in their webpages about it specifically.

I guess it depends on which form of psychotherapy you look at? CBT might be better for people with mild / moderate depression, but for people with perhaps more severe depression (for example) who would benefit from more specialist services, it's much harder to mesaure efficacy and effectiveness in the short term. I was told by a psych that the waiting time for the specialist psychotherapy service i 'use' would be about two years, but once i was 'in' (so to speak), the service was very good. He was right on both counts.

Interestingly, i was talking to my therapist about CBT (in particular) this week and she said its not necessarily cheaper than longer term therapies - such as psychodynamic psychotherapy - as it (CBT) can create a cycle of re-use of the service in some people. I guess they get their 10 or 20 weeks of CBT, it perhaps sees them over one particular 'hump', but when they hit the next one, they end up back in the system again.
Doesn't apply to everyone, or course, but seems it can apply to some people.
 
Rod Whiteley

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Yes, the IAPT programme is specifically for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety, where anxiety includes a variety of things like OCD and PTSD. A cycle of re-use is certainly a possibility. The published figures don't show how much of a problem it is. IAPT's "high intensity" CBT is designed to address the root cause of the problem, but the "low intensity" version isn't. I, too, am suspicious that some people use low intensity treatment to get over a hump and soon have to come back for more.
 
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Apotheosis

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Yes, the IAPT programme is specifically for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety
Why isn't IAPT also being aimed & catered for those with more severe difficulties? Are they also not entitled to proper psychological help & support? Or is it just a case of Drug em' & let em' get on with it...
 
Rod Whiteley

Rod Whiteley

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IAPT was designed as an additional service because existing mental health services were giving priority to people with more severe difficulties, which meant that people with the commonest conditions were often losing out. So yes, people with more severe conditions have always been entitled to proper psychological help and support through existing mental health services. Besides, psychological therapies on their own are not very effective for many of the severe conditions.

Recently, however, a new IAPT programme for severe mental illness has been announced, IAPT for SMI. A small number of "demonstration sites" will be chosen to try it out and see what the benefits are. The trial will run from November to March. I don't know anything about it other than what I've read on their web pages. It seems to me that the trial is far too short to evaluate the longer-term treatments that they'll be using.
 
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Apotheosis

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IAPT was designed as an additional service because existing mental health services were giving priority to people with more severe difficulties, which meant that people with the commonest conditions were often losing out. So yes, people with more severe conditions have always been entitled to proper psychological help and support through existing mental health services. Besides, psychological therapies on their own are not very effective for many of the severe conditions.
Is that a Joke?
 
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