CBT helps adjustment to MS
Published date: 27 Jul 2012 at 4:43PM
Adjusting to a diagnosis of MS and the early stages of the condition can be difficult.
Research led by Professor Rona Moss-Morris at King’s College London and the University of Southampton has demonstrated that ‘non-expert’ (i.e. not mental health specialist) nurse-led CBT, compared with supportive listening, could significantly reduce the distress felt in the early stages of MS.
Researchers showed that the benefits of CBT were felt for up to 12 months after treatment. Importantly, people who entered the trial with higher levels of distress and reported poorer social support showed an even greater benefit from receiving CBT.
The study also demonstrated that non-expert nurses could deliver the CBT sessions very effectively. This is a more cost-effective intervention for the NHS than CBT delivered by clinical psychologists.
Improving quality of life
MS Register data has shown than about half of people with MS experience anxiety or depression. Incorporating CBT into MS care in the future could greatly improve quality of life for people with MS.
Ed Holloway, Head of Care and Services Research at the MS Society, said:
“This is the first study to use a randomised-controlled trial to show that CBT can make a real difference to people in the early stages of MS.
“This was a very important study for us to fund and we hope that these findings will be used in the future to help people adjust to MS.”
Ninety-four people with MS, who were able to walk and were within 10 years of diagnosis, took part in the trial.
48 people received eight individual sessions of CBT, and 46 people received supportive listening, mostly delivered over the telephone by nurses. The 48 people who received CBT were also given a ‘treatment manual’.
Participants were assessed at home and measured for levels of distress, how impaired they felt by MS (socially and work-wise), their acceptance of MS, quality of life and others things related to emotional adjustment to MS.
This study was published in June in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.