Talking Therapies - NICE Guidelines
Are there guidelines on talking therapy for different mental illnesses?
NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) produces guidance for the NHS on how to treat certain health conditions. This section looks at what NICE recommends for some of the most common mental illnesses. You can see all the NICE guidance at www.nice.org if your condition is not on the list or you could talk to your mental health worker.
NICE recommends cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to treat depression. The length of treatment and the type of CBT will depend on how severe your symptoms are. For mild to moderate depression you may be offered self help, computerised CBT or six to eight sessions of one-to-one CBT. If you have moderate to severe depression you should be offered 16-20 sessions of CBT. If you have moderate to severe depression your doctor may give you medication as well as talking therapy. You may be offered psychotherapy or counselling but this depends on what is available in your area.
NICE recommends that once you are well you are offered mindfulness-based CBT to stop you form becoming unwell again. You should be offered this if you have had 3 or more bouts of depression in the past. Mindfulness CBT helps you to focus on the present moment. It can help you understand your thoughts and feelings and enjoy the world around you.
NICE recommends that your doctor should offer you psychological therapies and medication if you have anxiety. CBT and applied relaxation are usually weekly for about three to four months.
NICE recommends CBT to treat moderate to severe anxiety. You can also be given medication, However, NICE recommends talking therapies for long term recovery. You should get a choice of treatment but will depend on what is available in your area. If you have generalised anxiety disorder you should be offered at least five to seven sessions increasing to 12-15 for more serious symptoms.
NICE recommends you should be offered psychological therapy in addition to medication if you have schizophrenia. Your therapy should aim to reduce your symptoms, reduce feelings of distress, improve your coping skills and improve your quality of life. There are different types of psychological treatments which you might be able to get.
If you have bipolar disorder and you are relatively stable but still have some symptoms you should be offered psychological treatment. CBT and psychoeducation should be offered for long term treatment of bipolar.
The type of psychological therapy that would suit you will depend on your symptoms. You should discuss psychological therapy with your health care professional.
Borderline Personality Disorder
NICE recommends that if you have borderline personality disorder you should still get health and social care services. You should not be offered brief psychological treatment (less than 3 months). You should get therapy sessions which suit your need and fit around your other commitments.
NICE does not recommend one particular talking therapy. Some of the therapies available are Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Analyitical Therapy (CAT). These can all help people with borderline personality disorder. What you are offered will depend on what is available in your local NHS trust. You should receive information about psychological therapies you are being offered before you start the therapy.
You can find out more about these conditions and their treatments in the following pages:
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