Managing negative thoughts helps combat depression in Parkinson's patients

April 01, 2020

People with Parkinson's disease who engage in cognitive behavioral therapy -- a form of psychotherapy that increases awareness of negative thinking and teaches coping skills -- are more likely to overcome depression and anxiety, according to a Rutgers study.

The study was Neurology.

About 50 percent of people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease will experience depression, and up to 40 percent have an anxiety disorder.

"The psychological complications of Parkinson's disease have a greater impact on the quality of life and overall functioning than the motor symptoms of the disease," said lead author Roseanne Dobkin, a professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "Untreated, depression can accelerate physical and cognitive decline, compromise independence and make it more difficult for individuals to proactively manage their health, like taking medication, exercising and visiting the physical therapist."

Depression in Parkinson's patients is underrecognized and often goes untreated. Among those who receive treatment, antidepressant medication is the most common approach, though many patients continue to struggle with depressive symptoms. The researchers investigated how adding cognitive behavioral therapy to the care individuals were already receiving would affect their depression.

Cognitive behavioral therapy sessions helped patients re-examine their usual ways of coping with the daily challenges of Parkinson's. Therapy was individually tailored, targeting negative thoughts - such as "I have no control" - and behaviors including social withdrawal or excessive worrying. Treatment also emphasized strategies for managing the disease, such as exercise, medication adherence and setting realistic daily goals.

The researchers enrolled 72 people diagnosed with both Parkinson's and depression. All participants continued their standard treatment. In addition, half the participants (37 people) also received cognitive behavioral therapy over the telephone weekly for three months, then monthly for six months. By the end of treatment, individuals receiving only standard care showed no change in their mental health status, whereas 40 percent of the patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy showed their depression, anxiety and quality of life to be "much improved."

The convenience of phone treatment reduced barriers to care, allowing patients access to personalized, evidence-based mental health treatment, without having to leave their homes, Dobkin said.

"A notable proportion of people with Parkinson's do not receive the much needed mental health treatment to facilitate proactive coping with the daily challenges superimposed by their medical condition," she said. "This study suggests that the effects of the cognitive behavioral therapy last long beyond when the treatment stopped and can be used alongside standard neurological care to improve global Parkinson's disease outcomes."
-end-


Rutgers University

Related Psychotherapy Articles from Brightsurf:

Chatbots delivering psychotherapy help decrease opioid use after surgery
A study showed that patients receiving messages from a chatbot used a third fewer opioids after fracture surgery, and their overall pain level fell, too.

Cognitive behavior therapy tops other psychotherapies in reducing inflammation
A review of 56 randomized clinical trials finds that psychological and behavioral therapies may be effective non-drug treatments for reducing disease-causing inflammation in the body.

Physician psychotherapy unavailable to 97% of people with urgent mental health need
Publicly funded physician psychotherapy is only available to a fraction of those with urgent mental health needs in Ontario, according to a joint study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and ICES published today in CMAJ Open.

Early treatment for PTSD after a disaster has lasting effects
In 1988, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the northern Armenian city of Spitak.

Psychedelic drugs could help treat PTSD
Clinical trials suggest treatment that involves psychedelics can be more effective than psychotherapy alone.

Which is more effective for treating PTSD: Medication, or psychotherapy?
A systematic review and meta-analysis led by Jeffrey Sonis, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, finds there is insufficient evidence at present to answer that question.

Hope is a key factor in recovering from anxiety disorders
A University of Houston psychologist is reporting that hope increases in therapy and is a trait that predicts resilience and recovery from anxiety disorders, an important mechanism for therapists to restore in patients to move them forward toward recovery.

Psychotherapy should be first-line treatment for depression in young people, trial finds
Young people seeking support for depression should be offered psychotherapy as the first line of treatment, a clinical trial by researchers at Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has found.

'Ecstasy' shows promise for post-traumatic stress treatment
An international study involving researchers from UBC Okanagan has shown that MDMA, also known as ecstasy, may be a valuable tool for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Unique patterns of brain activity predict treatment responses in patients with PTSD
A neuroimaging study of 184 patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has identified unique patterns of brain activity that predict poorer responses to talk therapy (or psychotherapy), the current gold standard and only effective treatment for addressing PTSD.

Read More: Psychotherapy News and Psychotherapy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.