London, July 23: Talking therapy is likely to have no benefit for improving quality of life and reducing distress in people diagnosed with schizophrenia, says a study. The findings, published in the journal BMC Psychology, showed that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis (CBTp) had only a small, temporary improvement in functioning for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.
"With an effect size that was close to zero, we found no suggestion that CBTp improves quality of life for people diagnosed with schizophrenia," said Keith Laws, Professor at the UK's University of Hertfordshire.
The results are based on the first meta-analysis assessment of whether CBTp helps people diagnosed with schizophrenia in multiple areas of their lives beyond their symptoms.
"Our findings have important implications for service users diagnosed with schizophrenia, the clinicians who work with them and also decision-making government agencies such as NICE, who might use such findings to update their guidelines and recommendations and thus improve the treatment advice for people diagnosed with schizophrenia," Laws said.
CBT was first used as a therapy to help people with schizophrenia in 1952 and clinicians have traditionally claimed that it can be used to reduce the distress associated with the symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hearing voices and fixed delusions and can help to improve a patient's functioning and quality of life.
The two principal clinical guidelines in use indicate that psychological and psychosocial interventions (such as CBT) ought to both improve symptoms but also reduce depression, social anxiety, relapse, impact on functioning and the distress associated with psychosis symptoms. However, to date, there has been little evaluation of the effectiveness of CBTp on non-symptomatic outcomes in schizophrenia, the researchers stated.