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GPs should offer CBT to all depressed patients, researchers conclude

Researchers have called for GPs to offer cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for all patients that have not responded to antidepressants in a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment, found that CBT reduces anxiety, improves mental health and induces remission in depressed patients when used alongside usual forms of therapy.

The researchers concluded that GPs ‘should discuss referral for CBT with all those for whom antidepressants are not effective’.

It comes after recent calls for GPs to offer a choice of either therapy or medication as an option for first-line treatment after both were found to be equally as effective.

Among the benefits for mental health, the researchers also believe that CBT is a cost-effective method to treat depression and provides ‘benefit, in terms of health-related quality of life’ that is ‘sustained over time and therefore achieved at no additional cost’.

The study considered the long term effects of behavioural therapy by evaluating patients three years after they had initially received CBT alongside usual methods of first-line treatment.

Overall, patients that had received CBT as an adjunct were found to be less depressed than their counterparts and less likely to use antidepressants for a sustained period of time.










Readers' comments (14)

  • Four point reduction in Beck's Depression Inventory. So you can go from "I would kill myself if I had the chance" to just a measly "I would like to kill myself", or other significant changes, such as "I hate myself" to "I am disgusted with myself". No consideration of the effect on other psychological supports available, when money from a finite resource diverted from psychodynamic therapy, secondary care psychiatry etc with professionals with a wealth of experience and knowledge, to cheap and cheerful CBT with undergrads in psychology with 1 months training. Great stuff.

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  • Just who is going to provide the service? Mental Health Trusts can't cope with the demand now

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  • 6 months wait for CBT round here,Think again please.

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  • Love studies!
    Try suggesting CBT to someone who's depression is beginning to wreck marriage job and life. 12.30 every Tuesday?! Most are so scared of losing job, face or if self employed or contractors they won't get paid! Real life gets in the way. I'm talking about depression not SLS

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  • Vinci Ho

    As we have similar arguments on these kind of studies , the way the study was designed would NOT include reality check which waiting time. Then you compare results from different arms , working out your p-value or confidence level etc .
    Please , get real, academics

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  • @6.08pm See your six months and raise you a further 12. Croeseo I Cymru

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  • Why don't they do what we are supposed to be and be emotionally resilient as our regulator/slayer suggests.

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  • Tell that to our CCG, or rather. CDG (Clinical Decommissioning Group).

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  • The Research witll be flawed and skewed, It always is with this Government. The research will have been designed to show the outcome they want. After all they have their new initiative of targetting any mental health claimant of Employment Support Allowance. Bringing in the DWP to work alongside GPs. Their Research will not be reliable or able to stand up to Stringent and accurate Statistical Analysis. The numbers will have been manipulated. This has already been proven although NICE would never admit to it.

    Phoney Researchers, Phoney Statistics. Phoney and unreliable Trials based on a Phoney the Tories very own Brand of CBT ... their
    BioPsychoSocial Model. Tick box Lead. Coercing the Victims to give the answers they require in order to skew the data.

    Its all Operant Conditioning. Unvalidated Claptrap, which is nothing less than dangerous to those suffering from Mental Health conditions.

    If anything is likely to create conflict in the GP surgeries it is this.
    GPs being forced to play the arm of Ian Duncan Smiths DWP.
    The trust between Doctor and Patient will be in shreds if GPs do the State bidding here.

    That will be just one more reason spewed out for Reforms to GP contracts.

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  • I offer Computerised CBT/ psycholocigal well being service to all patients with moderate to severe anxiety or depression but IF all of them took up on my offer the local mental health trust would collapse overnight!
    If you look at the GP patient survey results for whole of England nearly 30% of the population feel depressed or anxious !!!

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