A year-long study based on the experiences of 200 British patients diagnosed with depression suggests that self-help books are helpful in treating the disorder’s symptoms, as long as counselling session are given on how to use the books to their fullest. “After four months those who had been prescribed the self-help books had significantly lower levels of depression than those who received usual GP care. A year later, those in the self-help group were more likely to be keeping on top of their depression.” Patients were given three sessions with an adviser on how to use the books properly.
What’s the Big Idea?
The study suggests that, given their effectiveness, the use of self-help material in general medical practice stands to be a very good investment. It has been estimated that more than $1 billion dollars could be saved in the British public sector if these less expensive treatmenst were implemented more widely. Medical experts readily acknowledge that self-help literature coupled with counselling sessions is not a sufficient solution for everyone. Dr Paul Blenkiron, consultant in adult psychiatry, said: “The key thing is that the person is committed to doing some work.”