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Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Menopausal Symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats): Moderators and Mediators of Treatment Effects

New Study (1)Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) has been found in recent randomized controlled trials (MENOS1 and MENOS2) to reduce the impact of hot flushes and night sweats (HFNS). In the MENOS2 trial, group CBT was found to be as effective as self-help CBT in reducing the impact of HFNS. This study investigates for whom and how CBT works for women in the MENOS2 trial.

METHODS:

This study performed a secondary analysis of 140 women with problematic HFNS who were recruited to the MENOS2 trial: 48 were randomly assigned to group CBT, 47 were randomly assigned to self-help CBT, and 45 were randomly assigned to usual care. Self-report questionnaires were completed at baseline, 6 weeks postrandomization, and 26 weeks postrandomization. Potential moderators and mediators of treatment effects on the primary outcome-hot flush problem rating-were examined using linear mixed-effects models and path analysis, respectively.

RESULTS:

CBT was effective at reducing HFNS problem rating regardless of age, body mass index, menopause status, or psychological factors at baseline. Fully reading the manual in the self-help CBT arm and completing most homework assignments in the group CBT arm were related to greater improvement in problem rating at 6 weeks. The effect of CBT on HFNS problem rating was mediated by changes in cognitions (beliefs about coping/control of hot flushes, beliefs about night sweats and sleep) but not by changes in mood.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that CBT is widely applicable for women having problematic HFNS, regardless of sociodemographic or health-related factors, and that CBT works mainly by changing the cognitive appraisal of HFNS.

 

Norton, S., Chilcot, J., & Hunter., M.S. (2014). Cognitive-behavior therapy for menopausal symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats): moderators and mediators of treatment effects. Menopause, 21(6), 574-578. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000095.

Telephone-CBT is Effective for Adolescents with OCD

OBJECTIVE: Many adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) do not have access to evidence-based treatment. A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial was conducted in a specialist OCD clinic to evaluate the effectiveness of telephone cognitive-behavioral therapy (TCBT) for adolescents with OCD compared to standard clinic-based, face-to-face CBT.

METHOD: Seventy-two adolescents, aged 11 through 18 years with primary OCD, and their parents were randomized to receive specialist TCBT or CBT. The intervention provided differed only in the method of treatment delivery. All participants received up to 14 sessions of CBT, incorporating exposure with response prevention (E/RP), provided by experienced therapists. The primary outcome measure was the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS). Blind assessor ratings were obtained at midtreatment, posttreatment, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month follow-up.

RESULTS: Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that TCBT was not inferior to face-to-face CBT at posttreatment, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up. At 12-month follow-up, there were no significant between-group differences on the CY-BOCS, but the confidence intervals exceeded the non-inferiority threshold. All secondary measures confirmed non-inferiority at all assessment points. Improvements made during treatment were maintained through to 12-month follow-up. Participants in each condition reported high levels of satisfaction with the intervention received.

CONCLUSION: TCBT is an effective treatment and is not inferior to standard clinic-based CBT, at least in the midterm. This approach provides a means of making a specialized treatment more accessible to many adolescents with OCD. Clinical trial registration information-Evaluation of telephone-administered cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) for young people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); http://www.controlled-trials.com; ISRCTN27070832.

Turner, C. M., Mataix-Cols, D., Lovell, K., Krebs, G., Lang, K., Byford, S., & Heyman, I. (2014). Telephone Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Non-inferiority Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53, 12, 1298-1307.

Child- and Family-Focused CBT for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have found that family-based psychosocial treatments are effective adjuncts to pharmacotherapy among adults and adolescents with bipolar disorder (BD). The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy of adjunctive child- and family-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CFF-CBT) to psychotherapy as usual (control) for mood symptom severity and global functioning in children with BD.

METHOD: Sixty-nine youth, aged 7 to 13 years (mean = 9.19, SD = 1.61) with DSM-IV-TR bipolar I, II, or not otherwise specified (NOS) disorder were randomly assigned to CFF-CBT or control groups. Both treatments consisted of 12 weekly sessions followed by 6 monthly booster sessions delivered over a total of 9 months. Independent evaluators assessed participants at baseline, week 4, week 8, week 12 (posttreatment), and week 39 (6-month follow-up).

RESULTS: Participants in CFF-CBT attended more sessions, were less likely to drop out, and reported greater satisfaction with treatment than controls. CFF-CBT demonstrated efficacy compared to the control treatment in reducing parent-reported mania at posttreatment and depression symptoms at posttreatment and follow-up. Global functioning did not differ at posttreatment but was higher among CFF-CBT participants at follow-up.

CONCLUSION: CFF-CBT may be efficacious in reducing acute mood symptoms and improving long-term psychosocial functioning among children with BD.

West, A. E., Weinstein, S. M., Peters, A. T., Katz, A. C., Henry, D. B., Cruz, R. A., & Pavuluri, M. N. ( 2014). Child- and Family-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53, 11, 1168.

CBT is Effective for Pediatric OCD

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effectiveness of manualized exposure-based CBT with a family-based treatment, as an initial treatment for pediatric OCD delivered in regular community child and adolescents outpatient clinics. The report summarizes outcome of the first treatment step in the NordLOTS, which was conducted in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

METHOD: 269 participants, age 7-17, with OCD, received treatment for 14 weekly sessions. Treatment response was defined as CY-BOCS score of ?15 at post treatment.

RESULTS: 241 participants (89.6%) completed all 14 weeks of treatment. Treatment response among the completers was 72.6% (95% CI 66.7%-77.9%). Mixed effects model revealed a statistically significant effect of time F(1,479) = 130.434. Mean symptom reduction on the CY-BOCS was 52.9% (SD = 30.9). The estimated within-group effect size between baseline and post treatment was 1.58 (95% CI: 1.37-1.80).

CONCLUSION: This study found that manualized CBT can be applied effectively in community mental health clinics. These findings underscore the feasibility of implementing exposure-based CBT for pediatric OCD in a regular child and adolescent mental health setting.

Torp, N. C., Dahl, K., Skarphedinsson, G., Thomsen, P. H., Valderhaug, R., Weidle, B., Melin, K. H., … Ivarsson, T. (January 01, 2015). Effectiveness of cognitive behavior treatment for pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder: Acute outcomes from the Nordic Long-term OCD Treatment Study (NordLOTS). Behaviour Research and Therapy, 64, 1, 15-23.

Beyond the Label: Relationship between Community Therapists’ Self-Report of a CBT Orientation and Observed Skills

Policy-makers, payers, and consumers often make decisions based on therapists’ reported theoretical orientations, but little is known about whether these labels represent actual or potential skills. Prior to CBT training, therapists (n = 321) reported theoretical orientations. Experts rated CBT competency using the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale Therapy at pre-, mid-, and post-training. CBT- and non-CBT identified therapists showed equivalent, non-competent baseline CBT skills. CBT-identified therapists showed greater CBT skills at mid-training, but by end of training, groups evidenced equivalent achieved competency. Baseline CBT orientations were neither valid, nor useful markers of later competency. Policy, clinical and research implications are discussed.

Creed, T.A., Wolk, C.B., Feinberg, B., Evans, A.C., & Beck. A.T. (2014). Beyond the label: Relationship between community therapists’ self-report of a cognitive behavioral therapy orientation and observed skills. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. doi: 10.1007/s10488-014-0618-5.

A Randomized Pilot Study of CBT Anger Treatment for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

OBJECTIVE: Anger and aggression are serious problems for a significant proportion of veterans who have served in combat. While prior research has suggested that cognitive behavioral treatments may be effective for anger problems, there are few controlled studies of anger treatment in veterans and no studies of anger treatment focusing exclusively on veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This randomized pilot study compared an adapted cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) to a supportive intervention (SI) control condition for the treatment of anger problems in veterans returning from deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan.

METHODS: 25 veterans with warzone trauma, problems with anger, and one or more additional hyperarousal symptoms were randomized and 23 started treatment (CBI, n = 12; SI, n = 11). Outcome measures were administered at pre- and post- treatment and at 3 months post-treatment.

RESULTS: CBI was associated with significantly more improvement than SI on measures of anger and interpersonal functioning. Gains were maintained at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that CBI may be more effective than an active control providing psychoeducation, relaxation, and supportive therapy for treating anger problems in returning veterans. The findings need to be replicated in an adequately powered and more diverse sample.

Shea, M. T., Lambert, J., & Reddy, M. K. (2013). A randomized pilot study of anger treatment for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51, 10, 607-13.

The Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS) is a useful tool designed to help clinicians detect and measure the severity of suicidal ideation. For more information on the BSS, visit www.beckscales.com.

CBT improves Memory of Veterans Suffering from PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by hyperarousal, flashbacks, avoidance, and memory dysfunctions. Although psychotherapy improves the clinical symptoms, its effect on memory has not been explored. In addition, there is no information about gene expression changes related to hippocampal functions. We assessed PTSD patients (n = 20) using the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) and a paired associates learning (PAL) test, as well as changes in blood FK506 binding protein (FKBP5) mRNA expression before and after cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Results revealed that before CBT PTSD patients were impaired on WAIS-R delayed recall, attention/concentration, and PAL compared with trauma-exposed control subjects (n = 20). These memory dysfunctions showed a significant improvement after CBT. Better performance on the PAL test correlated with enhanced blood FKBP5 mRNA expression. These results suggest that elevated FKBP5 expression during CBT is related to improved associative memory linked to the hippocampal formation.

Szabó, C., Kelemen, O., & Kéri, S. (2014). Changes in FKBP5 expression and memory functions during cognitive–behavioral therapy in posttraumatic stress disorder: A preliminary study. Neuroscience Letters, 569, 116-120.

The Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS) is a useful tool designed to help clinicians detect and measure the severity of suicidal ideation. For more information on the BSS, visit www.beckscales.com.

Telephone-based CBT Improves PTSD Symptoms among Returning Veterans

Objectives: Many service members do not seek care for mental health and addiction problems, often with serious consequences for them, their families, and their communities. This study tested the effectiveness of a brief, telephone-based, cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to improve treatment engagement among returning service members who screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Methods: Service members who had served in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom who screened positive for PTSD but had not engaged in PTSD treatment were recruited (N=300), randomly assigned to either control or intervention conditions, and administered a baseline interview. Intervention participants received a brief cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention; participants in the control condition had access to usual services. All participants received follow-up phone calls at months 1, 3, and 6 to assess symptoms and service utilization.

Results: Participants in both conditions had comparable rates of treatment engagement and PTSD symptom reduction over the course of the six-month trial, but receiving the telephone-based intervention accelerated service utilization (treatment engagement and number of sessions) and PTSD symptom reduction.

Conclusions: A one-time brief telephone intervention can engage service members in PTSD treatment earlier than conventional methods and can lead to immediate symptom reduction. There were no differences at longer-term follow-up, suggesting the need for additional intervention to build upon initial gains.

Stecker, T., McHugo, G., Xie, H., Whyman, K., & Jones, M. (2014). RCT of a Brief Phone-Based CBT Intervention to Improve PTSD Treatment Utilization by Returning Service Members. Psychiatric Services (washington, D.c), 65, 10, 1232-7.

CBT Treatment for Insomnia Improves Patient Outcomes while Reducing Healthcare Costs and Utilization

Study Objectives: To examine health care utilization (HCU) and costs following brief cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (bCBTi).

Methods: Reviewed medical records of 84 outpatients [mean age = 54.25 years (19.08); 58% women] treated in a behavioral sleep medicine clinic (2005-2010) based in an accredited sleep disorders center. Six indicators of HCU and costs were obtained: estimated total and outpatient costs, estimated primary care visits, CPT costs, number of office visits, and number of medications. All patients completed ? 1 session of bCBTi. Those who attended ? 3 sessions were considered completers (n = 37), and completers with significant sleep improvements were considered responders (n = 32).

Results: For completers and responders, all HCU and cost variables, except number of medications, significantly decreased (ps < 0.05) or trended towards decrease at post-treatment. Completers had average decreases in CPT costs of $200 and estimated total costs of $75. Responders had average decreases in CPT costs of $210. No significant decreases occurred for non-completers.

Conclusions: bCBTi can reduce HCU and costs. Response to bCBTi resulted in greater reduction of HCU and costs. While limited by small sample size and non-normal data distribution, the findings highlight the need for greater dissemination of bCBTi for several reasons: a high percentage of completers responded to treatment, as few as 3 sessions can result in significant improvements in insomnia severity, bCBTi can be delivered by novice clinicians, and health care costs can reduce following treatment. Insomnia remains an undertreated disorder, and brief behavioral treatments can help to increase access to care and reduce the burden of insomnia.

McCrae, C. S., Bramoweth, A. D., Williams, J., Roth, A., & Mosti, C. (2014). Impact of brief cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia on health care utilization and costs. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 10, 2, 127-35.

Dr. Aaron Beck Receives Changing Minds Award

Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Beck who received the Changing Minds Award at the Minding Your Mind Annual Blue Gene Gala, in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania on October 19, 2014. Dr. Beck received this award for his lifetime achievement in psychiatry. During his acceptance speech, Dr. Beck discussed the influence of catastrophizing across all of the psychological disorders. He described how catastrophizing was adaptive in the wild, and that individuals with the “catastrophizing gene” were at the top of the evolutionary ladder. His message was to de-stigmatize mental illness and to show the positive aspects of some symptoms in an evolutionary sense.

Dr. Judith Beck, a featured speaker for this event, provided the Keynote address. Dr. Beck talked about ways to reduce stigma, first, by providing a rationale for labeling both mental illness and physical illness as just “illness. ” Second, she discussed how people with mental illness need help to de-stigmatize themselves by evaluating their self-critical thoughts, especially those that interfere with seeking treatment. Dr. Beck also talked about Cognitive Behavior Therapy and noted the overwhelming amount of research that demonstrates its effectiveness for a large number of problems. Dr. Beck described what a typical therapy session is like and how it leads to improvement. She concluded with why we should all have hope for people with mental illness—because good therapy can help them get better and stay better. Dr. Judith Beck was also presented with a plaque in recognition of her advances in the field.