Adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome experience enduring benefits of CBT

A new study in Pediatrics reported that adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) who received 10 sessions (over 5 months) of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) continued to experience positive effects at 2-year follow-up. Researchers measured fatigue, functional impairment, school attendance, and work attendance (where applicable). At follow-up, participants continued to experience the same improvement in fatigue as they had at the end of treatment. Their physical functioning, school attendance, and work attendance actually improved during the follow-up period. The authors recommended that this treatment become available to more adolescent patients with CFS.

Study authors: H. Knoop, M. Stulemeijer, L. W. A. M. de Jong, T. J. W. Fiselier, G. Bleijenberg

Adolescents with SSRI-resistant Depression show improved response to treatment that includes CBT

A new study in JAMA reported that approximately 60% of depressed adolescents respond adequately to initial treatments with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), but there is a lack of information about subsequent treatment strategies. Four treatment strategies were employed in this study including medication-switching alone (to a different SSRI or to venlafaxine) and medication-switching plus cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT in this study emphasized cognitive restructuring, behavioral activation, emotion regulation, social skills, and problem solving. Additionally, parent-child sessions emphasized decreasing criticism and improving support, family communication, and problem solving. The authors found that CBT plus a switch to either medication regimen showed a higher response rate than a medication-switch alone (and that there was no difference in response rate between venlafaxine and a second SSRI).

Study authors: D. Brent, G. Emslie, G. Clarke, K. D. Wagner, J. R. Asarnow, M. Keller, et al.

Medication-resistant Schizophrenia benefits from adjunct CBT

A recent review in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice found cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to be beneficial for medication-resistant symptoms of schizophrenia. This is an important study because persistent symptoms are often disabling, lead to significant distress, and are associated with increased depression, anxiety, and risk of suicide. CBT as part of a treatment protocol with anti-psychotic medications has been shown to reduce these and other symptoms, and to increase adherence to treatment and insight; additionally, the effects are durable and cost effective. Working collaboratively with patients to improve understanding and coping has overall reduced suffering and improved functioning.

Study authors: S. Rathod, D. Kingdon, P. Weiden, D. Turkington