Cognitive Therapy Has Little Effect on Psychosis Risk

However, therapy reduces symptom frequency and severity for those who develop psychosis

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Although cognitive therapy does not reduce the risk of developing psychosis such as schizophrenia for at-risk individuals, it significantly reduces symptom severity for those who do develop psychosis, according to a study published online April 5 in BMJ.

Anthony P. Morrison, Clin.Psy.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomly assigned 288 participants (14 to 35 years old) at high risk of developing psychosis to either monitoring of mental state alone (aimed to provide warm, empathic, and nonjudgmental face to face contact and supportive listening) or combined with cognitive therapy (up to 26 sessions over six months).

The researchers found that, overall, only 8 percent of participants developed psychosis over the next two years -- at similar levels in both groups (proportional odds ratio, 0.73). Distress from psychotic symptoms, levels of depression, social anxiety, and satisfaction with life were also similar in both groups. However, cognitive therapy significantly reduced the frequency and intensity of psychotic experiences.

"Cognitive therapy plus monitoring did not significantly reduce transition to psychosis or symptom related distress but reduced the severity of psychotic symptoms in young people at high risk," Morrison and colleagues conclude.

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