Cognitive Therapy for Communication
If you are consumed by such thoughts, your sleeping and eating may be disrupted, your energy may be low for even simple tasks, and you may not be able to enjoy much of anything.
Fortunately, cognitive therapy effectively treats even severe depression, as Sharon Begley reports in the May 23rd, 2002 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Begley writes that for severe depression, the largest and longest-running study to pit medication against psychotherapy found that Cognitive therapy is at least as effective as standard drugs. Jay Amsterdam, a research psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the study, was quoted, “ I didn't think that in people with real, bio-chemically based depression, cognitive therapy would be effective…. When I saw the result, I told Rob DeBeus [the head researcher of the study] he had a highly effective treatment for depression, and that if he could bottle it he'd have a billion-dollar drug."
Unlike cognitive therapy, antidepressants come with a dark side: unless the medication is continued, a considerable risk of relapse may exist within a year after the medication is stopped. A study published in the January 2004 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry compared a group of depressed adults undergoing 15 to 20 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy to a group of depressed adults treated with paroxetine (Paxil). The neuroscientists in Canada found that cognitive therapy provides patients with an ‘override capacity,’ helping the patient resist being sucked into the pit of depression. The difference between cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants seems to be that antidepressants reduce activity in the brain’s emotion centers, called the limbic system, where stress and negative emotions come from. Cognitive behavioral therapy quiets over-activity in the cortex, the seat of higher thought, teaching the brain to respond to those signals in a healthier way, leading to a more enduring effect. Within a year after stopping the antidepressant, the relapse rate for another depressive episode was 80%; for the cognitive behavioral group, the relapse rate was 25%. (The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2004, D1).