Research News

Simpler psychological treatment is as effective as CBT for depression and is cheaper, study shows

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i4114 (Published 25 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4114
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

Behavioural activation, a simpler type of psychological treatment than cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that helps people focus on changing how they act rather than how they think, is as effective as and cheaper than CBT in treating adults with depression, a large randomised study has shown.

“Our findings challenge the dominance of CBT as the leading evidence based psychological therapy for depression,” said the lead author, David Richards, professor of mental health services research at the University of Exeter, UK.

CBT is as effective as antidepressants in treating clinical depression, but it is delivered by specialist clinicians and therapists, so access is limited. One in 10 patients in England …

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