Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Changes Brain Connectivity Predicting Long Term Recovery in Psychosis
Psychotic experiences are experiences involving thoughts, mood and perceptions. Abnormalities in these domains can give rise to persecutory delusions, auditory hallucinations and affective dysregulation.
During a psychotic episode, there is an inappropriate engagement of the brain’s fear system, which results in a person having difficulty in separating threats from conscious awareness. This is known as persecutory delusion and can occur in a number of different mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
At present, treatment options include pharmacotherapy, education and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However, studies have shown that relapse is common and many psychotic symptoms can persevere over time. Therefore, patient assessments, differential diagnoses, and long-term treatments need better guidance to ensure a more consistent pathway to recovery.
Evidence shows that talking therapies can reduce the distress associated with psychotic thoughts and can dramatically improve a patient’s wellbeing and quality of life. CBT in particular gives patients the opportunity to reframe their thinking around unusual perceptions and paranoid thoughts.
Therefore, the aim of a recently published study in Translational Psychiatry was to determine whether CBT could cause functional connectivity changes in patients with psychosis and whether it would be possible to predict the long-term functional outcome of therapy based on the connectivity differences observed.