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Over the Phone Cognitive-behavioral Therapy for Depression

Over the Phone Cognitive-behavioral Therapy for Depression

(epharmanews)- With up to 10% of the population experiencing depression, its therapy is a real concern to psychologists. Researchers are still trying to find the most effective, cost-effective therapy for this mental disorder that really cripples the patient.

A recent study found that over the phone cognitive-behavioral therapy could actually help depression patients.

The study included 325 depression patients, who were divided into two groups the first of which received 18 face-to-face therapy sessions, while the second received 18 sessions of talk therapy over the phone.

Both therapies depended solely on cognitive behavioral therapy; no chemical treatment was administered. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that tries to change the thoughts and attitudes leading to a person's condition.

David Mohr, the lead author of the study and a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said that many people want therapy as part of their depression treatment, but "one of the things we've found over the years is that it's very difficult for people with depression to access psychotherapy."

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that more people dropped out of the face-to-face therapy -- 53 patients -- than those in the telephone-based group -- 34 patients. But six months after the study ended, the patients who received in-office therapy felt less depressed than those who had their sessions over the phone.

Researchers found that face-to- face group scored about three points lower on a 52-point scale of depression. Mohr said that a three point difference on the depression scale "is of questionable clinical significance," meaning that a three-point reduction is the minimum change by which people could actually feel better.

In other words, it's possible that the telephone-based group included a greater number of patients with depression that was tougher to treat.

Mohr said he would recommend phone-based therapy for those patients who want it.

More research is still required to verify the effectiveness of this therapy and to make sure it is not just a way for health insurance companies to reduce psychotherapy costs but rather a more effective therapy on the long term.

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Prepared by: Marcell Shehwaro

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