Telephone-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Rural Older Adults

August 5, 2015

CHICAGO, ILL.  Telephone-based cognitive behavioral therapy was better at reducing worry, generalized anxiety disorder symptoms and depressive symptoms in older adults who live in rural areas, where access to mental health treatment may be limited, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders in older adults and is associated with poor quality of life, increased health care utilization and impaired memory.  Medications and psychotherapy are the primary treatments. Many older adults prefer psychotherapy to medication for the treatment of anxiety. However, older adults who live in rural areas can face a number of barriers, including living in an area where psychotherapy is not available, so alternate methods of providing treatment could increase utilization, according to the study background.

Gretchen A. Brenes, Ph.D., of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and coauthors compared telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with telephone-delivered nondirective supportive therapy (NST) in a randomized clinical trial of 141 adults 60 or older with generalized anxiety disorder. The participants (70 were assigned to telephone CBT and 71 to telephone NST) were followed up at two months and four months.

Read the entire JAMA Psychiatry news release.

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