Friday, January 30, 2009

Psychotherapy shows more promise

Washington. Long term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP), which stresses psychological support and intervention for patients based on their specific needs, seems more effective in treating complex psychiatric problems than short-term treatments that focus more on medications, a meta-analysis found.

“In this meta-analysis, LTPP was significantly superior to shorter-term methods of psychotherapy with regard to overall outcome, target problems, and personality functioning,” said lead researcher Falk Leichsenring of the University of Giessen, Geramany.

The meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association included 11 randomized controlled trials and 12 observational studies, involving a total of 1053 patients receiving LTPP. “(LTPP) yielded large and stable effect sizes in the treatment of patients with personality disorders, multiple mental disorders, and chronic mental disorders. The effect sizes for overall outcome increased significantly between end of therapy and follow-up,” Leichsenring stressed.

Patients undergoing LTPP on average saw better results 96 percent of the time than patients who received short-term intensive medication therapies.“Evidence indicates that short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy is insufficient for a considerable proportion of patients with complex mental disorders, i.e., patients with multiple or chronic mental disorders or personality disorders,” the authors said. “Some studies suggest that (LTPP) may be helpful for these patients, according to background information in the article,” they added.

*Source : Medical Observer, year 17, issue 10, Nov-Dec. 2008

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