Evidence-Based Reviews

Psychotherapy for psychiatric disorders: A review of 4 studies

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Psychotherapy is among the evidence-based treatment options for treating various psychiatric disorders. How we approach psychiatric disorders via psycho­therapy has been shaped by numerous theories of personality and psychopathology, including psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, systems, and existential-humanistic approaches. Whether used as primary treatment or in conjunction with medication, psychotherapy has played a pivotal role in shaping psychiatric disease management and treatment. Several evidence-based therapy modalities have been used throughout the years and continue to significantly improve and impact our patients’ lives. In the armamentarium of treatment modalities, therapy takes the leading role for several conditions. Here we review 4 studies from current psychotherapy literature; these studies are summarized in the Table.1-4

Psychotherapy for psychiatric disorders: 4 studies

1. Pompoli A, Furukawa TA, Efthimiou O, et al. Dismantling cognitive-behaviour therapy for panic disorder: a systematic review and component network meta-analysis. Psychol Med. 2018;48(12):1945-1953.

Panic disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 3.7% in the general population. Three treatment modalities recommended for patients with panic disorder are psychological therapy, pharmacologic therapy, and self-help. Among the psychological therapies, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used.1

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for panic disorder has been proven to be an efficacious and impactful treatment. For panic disorder, CBT may consist of different combinations of several therapeutic components, such as relaxation, breathing retraining, cognitive restructuring, interoceptive exposure, and/or in vivo exposure. It is therefore important, both theoretically and clinically, to examine whether specific components of CBT or their combinations are superior to others for treating panic disorder.1

Pompoli et al1 conducted a component network meta-analysis (NMA) of 72 studies in order to determine which CBT components were the most efficacious in treating patients with panic disorder. Component NMA is an extension of standard NMA; it is used to disentangle the treatment effects of different components included in composite interventions.1

The aim of this study was to determine which specific component or combination of components was superior to others when treating panic disorder.1

Study design

  • Researchers reviewed 2,526 references from Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Central and selected 72 studies that included 4,064 patients with panic disorder.1
  • The primary outcome was remission of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia in the short term (3 to 6 months). Remission was defined as achieving a score of ≤7 on the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS).1
  • Secondary outcomes included response (≥40% reduction in PDSS score from baseline) and dropout for any reason in the short term.1

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