Published on 22/01/2013
Self-help books could soon be prescribed on the NHS to treat people with depression, according to a new study carried out by Scottish researchers.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow followed more than 200 people for four months who had been diagnosed with depression by their GP. Half were taking antidepressant drugs.
Some of the patients were given a self-help book dealing with particular aspects of depression. These participants also attended three sessions with an adviser, who helped them get the most out of the books.
After four months had passed, the researchers found that those who had been given the self-help books had much lower levels of depression than those who were treated by their GP as normal.
Those in the self-help group were also more likely to be coping with their depression after a year.
Writing in the journal PLoS One, study leader Professor Christopher Williams said: "We found this had a really significant clinical impact and the findings are very encouraging.”
The books are based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is a well-established ‘talking therapy’ for depression.
It is hoped that the self-help books and guided sessions can be delivered in a general practise without specialist referral, taking pressure off NHS waiting lists for talking therapies.
Although CBT is available on the NHS, waiting lists for treatment can be long- a report by Mind revealed that one in five people have been waiting for talking therapy for over a year. The cost of private therapy sessions varies, but it is usually between £40-100 per session.
One way of getting access to private CBT is through a medical insurance policy. Private health insurance will meet the costs of talking therapies, as long as you have psychiatric cover. Compare health insurance quotes online now to get covered for conditions like depression.
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