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CBT for schizophrenia

Treatments for mental health have had a bumpy ride. Many people do not trust the drugs, whilst the evidence for non-pharmaceutical therapies can be very varied. Publishing in The Lancet, UK researchers have investigated whether Cognitive Therapy (also known as CBT) is a viable alternative therapy.

Schizophrenia, one of the most stigmatised and potentially debilitating mental health illnesses, is a prime example of the problem facing the mental health community. There are more than 20 antipsychotic drugs available, but for a combination of reasons, including distressing and potentially serious side-effects, many patients refuse or stop taking them. There has long been debate about the role that non-pharmaceutical therapies can play in treating schizophrenia, with research being used to argue both sides.

A selection of the authors came to the SMC to describe what this research adds to the ongoing debate, why this question is so important for the patient community and what these results mean for people with schizophrenia.

A roundup of reaction from other scientists accompanied this briefing.



Rory Byrne, Researcher and Service User Representative, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Prof Tony Morrison, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester and Director of The Psychosis Research Unit at Greater Manchester West Mental Health Foundation Trust

Prof Douglas Turkington, Honorary Professor of Psychosocial Psychiatry, The Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University and Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist

Dr Alison Brabban, Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, Durham University, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and National Advisor for Severe Mental Illness, within the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) programme. She is also on the NICE guideline development group revising the Schizophrenia guideline and was part of the ‘Schizophrenia Commission’ that reported in 2012

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