Psychological treatments for depression and anxiety in dementia and mild cognitive impairment: Systematic review and meta-analysis
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BACKGROUND: Anxiety and depression are common in people with dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), but there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of both pharmacological and psychological therapies.AIMS: To evaluate the evidence of effectiveness of psychological treatments in treating depression and anxiety in people with dementia and MCI.METHOD: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological treatment versus usual care in people with dementia and MCI. Primary outcomes were symptoms of anxiety and depression. Secondary outcomes were quality of life, ability to perform daily activities, neuropsychiatric symptoms, cognition and caregivers' self-rated depressive symptoms.RESULTS: We included six RCTs, involving 439 participants with dementia, which used cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, counselling or multimodal interventions including a specific psychological therapy. We found beneficial effects for both depression and anxiety. Overall, the quality of the evidence was moderate for depression and low for anxiety, due to the methodological limitations of the studies we identified and the limited number of trials.CONCLUSIONS: The evidence from six RCTs suggests that psychological treatments are effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety for people with dementia. There is a need for high-quality, multicentre trials including standardised, well-defined interventions.Copyright © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2015.