How Effective Is CBT?

What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)? CBT is an efficient treatment for many of the common psychological problems of today’s youth, and it has been found to be especially helpful for adolescents suffering from mood disorders, self harm, and aggression towards peers. It helps people identify and alter ineffective or harmful thinking and behavior patterns, replacing them with better, more productive ones. CBT also helps a person deal with stress and improves self confidence.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to alter negative thoughts and behaviors through exposure, drilling, and feedback. Negative thoughts and behaviors are identified and discouraged, and a new set of thought processes and behaviors are introduced. A variety of positive reinforcement is provided when appropriate, such as praise, acceptance, reassurance, and help with schoolwork. If CBT does not work, some alternative forms of therapy may be tried instead.

The effectiveness of CBT depends upon the type of disorder being treated, and the therapists handling the case. CBT for depression has proven to be highly successful in addressing mood swings and other maladaptive thinking patterns, eliminating depressive symptoms and helping patients gain a sense of well-being. People with anxiety disorders respond well to CBT as well. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and specific phobias. CBT for anxiety disorders usually involves identifying the problem, learning to control fears, and slowly eliminating anxiety through exposure, elaboration, and support.

How effective is CBT for mood disorders? Mood disorders including depression have been effectively treated with CBT in the past. It is not clear how effective CBT is for depression, but it has been effective for other conditions. CBT for anxiety disorders may prove to be more effective in these cases because people with depression are often unable to communicate their sadness or feelings, which makes treatment more difficult.

How effective is CBT for anxiety/depression/snoring? There is research on both sides of the question: Many researchers report that people with anxiety disorders respond well to CBT and many who suffer from depression benefit from CBT. However, researchers have not found conclusive evidence that CBT alone can treat these problems; in fact, research shows that anxiety disorders, depression, and snoring tend to improve when treated with a combination of therapy and medication.

Do I need to change my thoughts about myself and others to get help? Not necessarily. CBT is focused on helping you recognize distorted thoughts, changing patterns of behavior, and replacing those with healthier ones. So if you don’t already think and act in a healthier way, chances are you will when you practice CBT.

What can CBT do for me? The most important effect of CBT for many people is improvement in their physical health. Cognitive behavioral therapists emphasize healthy ways of thinking, acting, and interacting – things that many older people neglect to do. Over time, they gain confidence in their ability to take care of themselves. This can translate into better hygiene, more active lifestyle, and improved overall health. When the physical health is improved, CBT can lead to improvement in the mental health, as well, since depression is often accompanied by other mental health concerns, such as stress and anxiety.

Can I use CBT in conjunction with traditional therapy? There are many cases where it is beneficial to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions using both therapy and CBT. However, for many people, the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy are not enough to make a difference. For these people, it may be necessary to combine CBT with another form of therapy, such as hypnotherapy or hypnosis. Some people find that they respond best to CBT when it is combined with an additional form of therapy. CBT works, but if you want to see the most dramatic results, you should combine it with another form of therapy.