In two innovative pilot studies, Ian Gotlib and his colleagues at Stanford University, California, showed that brain training can be used to help eliminate depression, even before it starts. They studied young girls (10 to 14 year old) whose mothers were depressed and who thus were at higher risk of developing depression themselves later-on. The girls had not experienced depression per se but already showed behaviors typical of depressed brains, such as overreaction to negative stimuli. [Read more…] about Can Brain Training and Biofeedback Help Prevent Depression
Excellent article in the UK’s newspaper The Independent on the growing adoption of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) by the National Health Service (NHS). Very relevant to the US too, given that a growing number of insurers are offering computerized CBT. Quotes:
“Why are we asking this now?
There is growing frustration among GPs at the difficulty they face in providing psychological therapy for patients with mental problems including depression. A survey by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) published at the weekend found almost two-thirds of respondents said they were “rarely” able to obtain treatment for patients within two months. Getting help for children who had suffered abuse or trauma was even more difficult. Professor Steve Field, the president of the RCGP, said: “People should have access to approved treatments, and this has to be a wake-up call.”
What does this mean for patients?
Whereas in the past, GPs might have prescribed Prozac or other antidepressants, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is now the treatment of first choice – where it is available – for the millions who turn up complaining they cannot cope. In 2007, the Government earmarked £173m to train 3,600 extra therapists by 2010.
So why the shortage of therapists?
The cash is no longer ring-fenced and has allegedly been siphoned away to pay for other projects. The RCGP and Mind, the mental-health charity, are campaigning for a commitment from all three main political parties to ring-fence cash for talking therapies. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) says CBT should be the first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression, followed by drugs only if it proves unsuccessful.”
Keep reading The Big Question: Does cognitive therapy work – and should the NHS provide more of it for depression? (The Independent)
The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article yesterday, titled To Be Young and Anxiety-Free, focused on the value of cognitive behavioral therapy to help children with high levels of anxiety learn how too cope better and prevent the snowball scenario, when that anxiety grows and spirals out of control resulting in depression and similar
- “…new research showing that treating kids for anxiety when they are young may help prevent the development of more serious mental illnesses, including depression and more debilitating anxiety disorders.”
- “Of course, most kids have fears without having a full-blown anxiety disorder. And some anxiety is healthy: It makes sense, for example, to be a little nervous before a big test. Doctors and psychologists do caution that the increased focus on childhood anxiety could lead to an overdiagnosis of the problem. What makes anxiety a true illness is when it interferes with normal functioning or causes serious emotional and physical distress.”
- “But the use of antidepressants in children has come under fire because [Read more…] about The Future of Computer-assisted Cognitive Behavioral Therapy