Cognitive Behavioral Therapy May Reduce Heart Disease

by Dr. Nithin Jayan on  February 22, 2011 at 12:48 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) reduces the risk of recurrent heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.

Deaths due to cardio-vascular diseases in India are projected to increase from 2.7 million in 2004 to four million in 2030. Stress and anxiety are believed to contribute to heart disease and heart attack. Physical inactivity is another important cause.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach, a talking therapy that attempts to modify the way people think. It is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviours rather than the external environment. By changing the way we think we can feel or act better irrespective of the situation we are in. Unlike other therapies like psychotherapy, CBT takes lesser time.

Researchers in Sweden studied 362 patients aged 75 years or younger who were discharged from a hospital after suffering a coronary heart disease event. 170 patients from the group received standard medical care, and the other 192 received the same care plus 20 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) over 12 months that focused on stress management. Each session was two hours long. Patients were followed up for about 8 years. It was found that the group that participated in the therapy sessions had a 45% lower rate of heart attacks and a 41% lower rate of other cardiovascular events. The more regularly the participants attended therapy sessions, the lower their risk of second heart attacks or other events.

Stress management is an important part of good health even if you are not at high risk of heart diseases. CBT aims to help a client to become aware of thought distortions which cause psychological distress, and of behavioural patterns which are reinforcing it, and to correct them. It teaches people a new way of reacting to events. CBT sessions help people to learn skills on coping with stress and reducing feelings of anger and hostility.

The results of the research were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine."This demonstrates the potential efficacy of adding CBT to secondary preventive programs after AMI (Acute Myocardial Infarction- Heart attack) for better patient adherence to treatment and better outcome," the authors write.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine.

Source: Medindia

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