Background. Non-professional treatment programmes are presumed to relieve the extensive need for care of anxiety and depression disorders. This study investigates the effectiveness of cognitive self- therapy (CST) in the treatment of depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
Method. Patients (n=151) were randomized to receive CST or treatment as usual (TAU) in a trial lasting for 18 months, measuring symptoms (SCL-90; main outcome), social functions, quality of life and utilization of care.
Results. Patients in both conditions improved significantly, but no difference was found between the conditions. Reduction of symptoms, improvement of social functions and medical utilization were maintained at the end of the 18 months. Medical care utilization (therapist contact and hospitalization) was lower for CST than for TAU. No suicides occurred.
Conclusions. Cognitive self-therapy is likely to decrease the need for care of chronic depression and anxiety disorders, but it has not been proven to be more effective than treatment as usual.