Cognitive behavioural therapy halves the risk of a new suicide attempt

Researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Centre have examined randomized trials of the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on preventing new suicide attempts in people admitted after a suicide attempt. They found that the therapy halves the risk of suicide.

The systematic review assessed 10 randomised trials, which included eight trials from Cochrane reviews of self-harm and suicide attempts. They included a total of 1241 patients, 219 of which had at least one new suicide attempt. Cognitive behavioural therapy compared to treatment as usual reduced the risk of a new suicide attempt; risk ratio 0.47; 95% confidence interval 0.30 to 0.73; P = 0.0009).

It has been well documented that depression pills increase the risk of suicide not only in children and adolescents but at all ages. “Our new review underlines what we already know from other systematic reviews, namely that the primary treatment for all patients with depression should be psychotherapy. Depression pills do not seem to have any relevant effect on depression but they have many harms and the patients don’t like them. They should therefore be avoided. Clinical guidelines promoting depression pills as the primary treatment of depression need to be revised”, says lead researcher on the study, Professor Peter C Gøtzsche.

The study has been published online on the 18th October 2017 by The Royal Society of Medicine.