Behavioral Activation as Effective as CBT for Depression, at Lower Cost

Behavioral Activation as Effective as CBT for Depression, at Lower Cost

A simple and inexpensive therapy is equally as effective at treating depression as the “gold standard” of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a largescale study has concluded.

Behavioural Activation (BA) is relatively simple, meaning it can be delivered by more junior staff with less training, making it a cost-effective option. It is around 20 per cent cheaper than CBT, meaning it could help ease current difficulties in accessing therapy, and could make it more realistic to deliver for a wider range of countries worldwide. BA encourages people to focus on meaningful activities driven by their own personal values as a way of overcoming depression.

Led by researchers from the University of Exeter, the multi-centre COBRA study is one of the largest in the world to assess psychological treatments of depression through a randomised controlled trial, by comparing different treatments between groups.

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme and published in The Lancet. A collaborative team of researchers from the Universities of Exeter, York, Kings College London and Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust worked with clinical services, to investigate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of BA. The treatments were delivered by NHS mental health workers and therapists in NHS Mental health Trusts in Devon (Devon Partnership NHS Trust), County Durham (Tees, Esk and Wear Valley’s NHS Foundation Trust) and Leeds (Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust).

Professor David Richards, NIHR Senior Investigator at the University of Exeter Medical School, led the study. He said: “Effectively treating depression at low cost is a global priority. Our finding is the most robust evidence yet that Behavioural Activation is just as effective as CBT, meaning an effective workforce could be trained much more easily and cheaply without any compromise on the high level of quality. This is an exciting prospect for reducing waiting times and improving access to high-quality depression therapy worldwide, and offers hope for countries who are currently struggling with the impact of depression on the health of their peoples and economies.”

Clinical depression is the second largest cause of disability globally, affecting around 350 million people worldwide. The impact on economic output across the world is projected to be US$5.36 trillion between 2011 and 2030. Although CBT is known to be effective, access is often restricted, with long waiting lists. In England, 1 in 10 people have been waiting over a year to receive talking therapy, whilst in the USA, only about a quarter of people with depression have received any type of psychological therapy in the last 12 months… Read More>>

Source: Science Daily

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