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Review: cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment for depression, panic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder, but may be less effective in severe cases

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Q Is cognitive behavioural therapy effective for the treatment of depression, panic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder, and what factors affect outcome?


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Systematic review with meta-analysis and meta-regression.

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Existing meta-analyses of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression, panic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), and searches of MEDLINE and the Cochrane Collaboration Trials Register up to November 2002.

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The review included randomised controlled trials of (RCTs) of CBT, behavioural therapy, or cognitive therapy with a wait list, no treatment, attention placebo, or pill placebo control group. Participants were aged 18 or over with DSM-III or DSM-III-R major depression or dysthymia (excluding psychotic disorder and bipolar disorder), panic disorder or DSM-III-R or DSM-IV generalised anxiety disorder. RCTs were only included if means and standard deviations …

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  • For correspondence: Michelle M Haby, Senior Epidemiologist, Health Surveillance and Evaluation Section, Public Health Group, Department of Human Services, Level 18, 120 Spencer Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia; michelle.haby{at}

  • Source of funding: not stated.

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