HOW EFFECTIVE IS COGNITIVE THERAPY?
Cognitive therapy strategies have been used to help clients overcome a wide variety of problems.
In the past few years, there have been a number of large research studies looking at the effectiveness of cognitive therapy. These studies have demonstrated that cognitive therapy is extremely effective. The most successful application of cognitive therapy has been in the treatment of depression. The National Institutes of Mental Health conducted a large-scale research program comparing cognitive therapy to treatment with anti-depressant medication for depression. People received either cognitive therapy or anti-depressant medications over the course of 16 weeks.
Their depression was evaluated during treatment and for several years following treatment. Cognitive therapy was found to be as effective as anti-depressant medication. Even more impressive, when the scientists looked at the numbers of people who became depressed again after treatment with either cognitive therapy or drugs had ended, they found that cognitive therapy was clearly superior to anti-depressant medication in preventing the return of depression. Recent reviews of many cognitive therapy studies support the effectiveness of cognitive therapy.
For the treatment of anxiety, particularly for panic attacks or anxiety attacks, cognitive therapy has also been shown to be effective. Recent research studies have shown that cognitive therapy can eliminate anxiety attacks in about 85% of patients who receive a short-term non-drug treatment program of less than 20 sessions. The most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, only eliminates panic attacks in about 50% of the patients.
Other studies have shown that cognitive therapy is an effective brief for a variety of other common problems. Cognitive therapy can be effectively used to treat chronic pain, stress-related problems, marital and relationship difficulties, eating disorders, bulimia, anorexia, phobias, performance anxiety , obsessions and compulsions, anger, and other intense emotions.
Overall, cognitive therapy has shown itself to be a safe and effective treatment for a variety of psychological problems. In addition, cognitive therapy has been shown to be equally or more effective than most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications. More importantly, the effects of cognitive therapy appear to be longer lasting than those of psychiatric medications. Furthermore, cognitive therapy has no side effects, whereas most medications have a variety of objectionable side effects.