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Group therapy helps MS sufferers cope with depression, study finds
Date:6/13/2011

ered to MS and were put on a waiting list to receive group therapy at the end of the study.

The other group were invited to attend a course of six two-hour sessions of group therapy attended by up to eight participants at a time. Each session was led by a research psychologist, supervised by a qualified clinical psychologist with experience of working with people with MS.

Each session focussed on a topic, such as worry, gloom and relationships and was followed by practical exercises in strategies to cope with emotional problems and group discussion. They finished with relaxation exercises and group members were given tasks centred on practising coping strategies between sessions.

To assess the effectiveness of the sessions, questionnaires were sent to the participants at both four and eight months later and the results of those who received treatment were compared to those on the waiting list only.

The researchers found that those MS sufferers who attended the group sessions had fewer problems with anxiety and depression, the impact of the disease on their daily lives was reduced and their quality of life improved.

In terms of potential savings to the NHS, the researchers have also collected information on cost, which will be submitted for a future publication. They found that costs were reduced by 470 per patient for those who attended the therapy sessions compared with usual care. It was shown to almost halve the cost of visits to the GP, falling from 11,340 at the start of the study to just 5,832 at the eight month follow up. The costs of outpatient hospital visits were also slashed from 32,592 at the beginning of the study to 21,534 at the eight-month follow-up.

The next stage of the research will be to assess whether the group therapy approach works equally well in other centres through a larger study with the hope that the treatment could potentially be provided through NHS services for those with MS.


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Contact: Emma Thorne
emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-951-2731
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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