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Feelings Of Hope Linked To Better Recovery From Anxiety Disorders, Study Suggests

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Hadeel Abdelkariem, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Hadeel Abdelkariem

    Hadeel Abdelkariem Golden Member

    Apr 1, 2018
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    When it comes to mental health, everybody’s experience differs, and so there is no immediate one-size-fits-all treatment. A new study in Behavior Therapy suggests that there is a key element that can help those dealing with anxiety, though. Don’t underestimate the importance of hope, they say.


    Hope, according to the study, is a strong predictor of recovery from anxiety disorders, and therapists that incorporate it into cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are more likely to see increasingly positive results from their patients in recovery.

    While “hope” is a rather broad term, in psychology circles it is associated with other positive constructs, like optimism and self-efficacy, which have been linked to resilience to emotional disorders and shown to motivate recovery. In psychotherapy circles, it represents the capacity of a patient to identify strategies to achieve goals, and the motivation to pursue those strategies.

    The study, led by Dr Matthew Gallagher of the University of Houston, is part of a much larger project on the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders. For this particular research, Gallagher and co. examined the role of hope in predicting recovery by putting together a clinical trial assessing 223 adults currently in transdiagnostic CBT, disorder-specific CBT, or, as a control group, waitlisted for CBT for four common anxiety disorders: panic disorder, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

    Their results indicated that hope gradually increases during a course of CBT across all four disorders, and that increases in hope were experienced at a much greater level by those in active treatment compared to those waitlisted. Moderate-to-large increases in hope and changes in hope were consistent across all CBT treatment protocols. This, the researchers concluded, shows that instilling hope is a key factor in promoting recovery.

    “In reviewing recovery during CBT among the diverse clinical presentations, hope was a common element and a strong predictor of recovery,” Gallagher said in a statement.

    “Our results can lead to a better understanding of how people are recovering and it’s something therapists can monitor," he added. "If a therapist is working with a client who isn’t making progress, or is stuck in some way, hope might be an important mechanism to guide the patient forward toward recovery.”

    Though encouraging hope can have a positive outcome, it's also important to note that putting pressure on patients to feel things they perhaps don't, or can't at that time, may have a detrimental effect. On the other hand, there is the argument that without anxiety there can be no hope.


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