Integrated therapies helpful for treating generalized anxiety disorder: Study
May 20th, 2016
Filed under: depression by Rachael

To ensure complete treatment for any serious disease it usually requires long-term follow up and support; it is an integration of several treatment procedures to achieve a better outcome. A recent study, titled “Integrating Motivational Interviewing with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder: An Allegiance-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial,” by the York University suggested that blending motivational interviewing (MI) into the commonly practiced cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could work better for a person suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Willingness to change is an important criterion for a person who wants to get rid of depression. Lead author of the study Dr. Henny Westra, a psychology professor in the Faculty of Health at the York University, said, “Our research shows that therapists need to have two sets of skills – to help people become ready for change, and then to help them accomplish that change.” He also said that the integration of MI and CBT can be effective in treating depressive symptoms, and can also enhance long-term patient improvement rates as compared to CBT alone.

GAD is a debilitating mental condition that needs proper treatment. Even with a full course of CBT, sometimes less than half of the patients show positive outcomes. This study eliminated the gap in mental health treatment outcomes of GAD by combining MI with CBT. MI can assist patients in understanding and validating the fear of change, which helps them sail through their conflicting feelings regarding change, while CBT is a talking therapy that can help patients free themselves from the vicious cycle of negative thoughts.

Patients demonstrate continued improvement even after MI-CBT treatment ends

The study, published online in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in March 2016, recruited 85 participants in Toronto for a five-year randomized clinical trial. All of them underwent treatment for severe GAD. Some 43 of them were randomly assigned to receive CBT alone from therapists trained only in CBT, and 42 to receive a combination of CBT and MI from therapists trained in both. The patients had to undergo a 15-week treatment phase.

The participants responded well to both the standard CBT and the combined therapies during the treatment phase. However, after a one-year post-treatment follow-up, the patients who received the combined therapies further improved and the response rate increased. It was observed that the participants who were undergoing the MI-CBT treatment were five times more likely to be free of the diagnosis of GAD.

The findings were compelling because the researchers could see a growing response rate from patients who demonstrated a continued improvement, even after the MI-CBT treatment ended. It is true that many treatment options are available now a days that can produce good results, but the challenge lies in ensuring a long-term recovery that continues even after the treatment is stopped.

Another researcher Dr. Martin Antony, a Ryerson University professor, said, “This study highlights the importance of studying the long term impact of our treatments, as the enhanced improvements seen in people who received the integrated MI and CBT treatment were greatest sometime after treatment had ended.” The researchers said that if further studies continue to demonstrate such results, integrating MI into CBT would also show beneficial outcomes for patients with GAD.

Way to recovery

Living with GAD can be a long-term challenge, so an earlier prognosis and treatment can help in an effective recovery process. If you or your loved one is showing symptoms of GAD, please seek medical help immediately. The Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado can provide you information about anxiety disorders treatment in Colorado that can help you get anxiety-free. Please chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-891-2539 to speak with our representative on various treatment options.

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