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Research study show that ‘Talk Therapy’ can alter brain activity

February 18, 2011

Several recent studies have compared effectiveness of drugs against effectiveness of psychological therapies. The results seem to suggest that psychological therapies are just as effective and that their effects are more permanent.

Medication and psychotherapy are used to treat people with social anxiety, a common disorder in which people experience overwhelming fear of interacting with others and of being harshly judged. But there’s been far less research on the neurological effects of psychotherapy (talk therapy) than on medication-induced brain changes.
The new Canadian study included 25 adults with social anxiety disorder who underwent 12 weekly sessions of group cognitive behavior therapy, which is meant to help patients identify and challenge their unhealthy thinking patterns.
Before treatment, the clinical group’s delta-beta correlations were similar to those of the high-anxiety control group and much higher than those of the low-anxiety control group. When measured at a point about midway through psychotherapy, improvements in the patients’ brains matched symptom improvement reported by both doctors and patients. After they completed psychotherapy, the patients’ EEG results were similar to those of the low-anxiety group.
The study is scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/649928.html

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