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Can Talking Therapies Help Beyond Treating Depression?

ByTeam BB

Apr 22, 2023


This is the first study of its kind to establish a link between psychological therapy results and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A new study has found that using talking therapy to address depression in people over 45 may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the future.

Therapies are known to be effective in treating mental health disorders, but did you know that they can help with physiological concerns as well? A new study has found that using talking therapy to address depression in people over 45 may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the future. This health data analysis, titled Psychological Therapies for Depression and Cardiovascular Risk, is published in the European Health Journal. The aim of the study was to look at whether cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), an evidence-based psychological therapy used to treat depression, could help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in later life.

Researchers mention that stroke and other cardiovascular disorders are the major causes of death worldwide. Additionally, they inform that prior research has revealed that individuals with depression have a roughly 72% higher lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease than those without.

For the purpose of the study, data from about 636,955 people over the age of 45 who accessed treatment through England’s national Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, between 2012 and 2020 was assessed by the researchers.

Further, the team also used the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which takes into account elements including a lack of interest in activities, sleep problems, and feelings of low mood, Depressive symptoms were also assessed. The results of these tests were taken into account to derive the following inferences.

The team discovered that patients with depressive symptoms that consistently improved following psychological treatment had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who did not. Reliable improvement from depression was related to a 12% reduction in future cardiovascular disease at any given period.

The researchers found that people under 60 had a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 22% lower risk of dying from such diseases. On the other hand, those over 60 had a 14% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 5% lower risk of acquiring it.

This is the first study of its kind to establish a link between psychological therapy results and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers mention that the results are significant because they imply that psychological therapy may have long-term positive effects on physical health in addition to mental health outcomes.

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