What types of problems can CBT help with?

CBT is a relatively flexible therapy that can be adapted to meet your particular needs. Evidence suggests it can be an effective treatment for a range of mental health problems, such as:

  • Anger problems
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depression
  • Drug or alcohol problems
  • Eating problems
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual and relationship problems
  • Sleep problems

There are also formal adaptations of CBT to treat particular mental health problems, such as phobias, PTSD and OCD.

“CBT got me through my chronic health anxiety disorder. It was a tough six months, but I still use the skills I learnt over 10 years ago to rationalise with myself.”

CBT can also help you find new ways to cope with physical health problems, such as:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic pain
  • Habits or problems, such as facial tics
  • General health problems

“My experience of CBT was very positive. I had one to one sessions, group sessions and it was also in my pain management course. It helped me write about my depression and express those feelings in my artwork.”

Does CBT work without medication?

For some people CBT can work just as well as medication for treating problems like depression and anxiety disorders.

Depending on the symptoms you experience, your doctor might suggest that a combination of CBT and medication, such as an antidepressant, might be more effective for you. If you want to discuss whether CBT is the right treatment for you, you can talk to your doctor.

“I had CBT… when I had severe depression. It got me through a really tough time, from being suicidal and off work on long term sick [leave], to fully functioning again and now in a successful career. I found it worked really well in combination with antidepressants. It pulled me back from a very dark place and reintroduced structure to my life when I’d given up.”

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