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Cognitive Therapy Can Bring Relief to Arthritis Patients: Study

Update Date: Jun 29, 2012 09:39 AM EDT

People suffering from Arthritis can now look forward to more than just medicines and exercises to get some relief from the pain, as scientists claim that psychological counseling could do wonders.

A recent research reveals that Arthritis pain can be eased by learning to cope with the condition through psychological therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could help rheumatoid arthritis victims deal with their pain by allowing them to control their debilitating symptoms, a Mail Online report said.

Researchers believe that psychological counseling helps people since it makes them focus on more positive thoughts, which alters the way they feel. It's the positive outlook from which they benefit.

For the study, researchers sent 104 participants suffering from rheumatoid arthritis to one of the several treatments. While some of the participants were given cognitive therapy, others were subjected to behavioral therapy.

An analysis of the participants was done before treatment and six months after starting the treatment. The participants were analyzed for their disease activity, joint function, disability and psychological functioning, says the report.

The results of the analysis of the patients post therapy sessions revealed that that cognitive therapy, which involves identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behavior and emotions, was an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, whereas, behavioral therapy was not necessarily needed.

Clare Jacklin, of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society was quoted as saying by Mail Online that the organization 'welcomes psychological intervention for people living with rheumatoid arthritis'.

"Existing and emerging evidence suggests it (psychological intervention) plays an important role in patient care yet very few people with RA are offered such interventions," she told the Daily Express.

"Those who are, often have to display symptoms of depression before any referral is made. Prevention is better than cure and we believe everyone with a diagnosis should be able to access psychological support and therapy as required," she added.

The study, carried out by Louise Sharpe from the University of Sydney was published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

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