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NIHR Highlight Cognitive therapies for depression

Published on 11 May 2016

Depression is common, affecting up to one person in five at some point during their lifetime. More than half of those affected will experience at least two episodes. It is often a long term condition, and as such the cost to health services is high – around £3 billion a year in the UK, with a large additional cost to the economy as a result of lost working time. Depression is also one of the most common reasons for visiting a GP. While depression is often treated with anti-depressant medication, there is good evidence that cognitive therapies are also effective. These are talking therapies which aim to help people with depression to minimise the impact of negative thoughts and develop strategies for coping with difficult feelings or situations. There are a range of types of these therapies, but this Highlight looks at new evidence relating to two: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). The NHS Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies programme has improved access to these therapies, although availability is still variable and there are waiting lists in some areas. In this Highlight you can find out about important new NIHR research which adds to our knowledge about when, and for whom, cognitive therapies might work.

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