Jasubhaii, S.; Mukundan, C.R.; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Emotional Freedom Technique in Reducing Anxiety and Depression in Indian Adults. Int J Emerg Ment Health 2018, Vol 20(2): 403 DOI: 10.4172/1522-4821.1000403
WHO places Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), or depression, as the fourth leading cause of mental disability world-wide. According to a survey done by WHO in February 2017, found 7.5% of Indians suffer from major or minor mental disorders requiring expert intervention. National Mental Health Survey of India in 2015-2016 reports that one in 20 Indians suffer from Depression especially women in the age-group of 40-49 years suffers more. Earlier research indicated that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) represents a superior approach in treating mild to severe depression symptoms. Whereas Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has received increased attention. The present study is in line with a study conducted in Australia in 2016 by Hannah Chatwin et al. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of CBT and EFT in the treatment of anxiety and depression in Indian adults. Random subjects (n = 10) were selected from Ahmedabad (a metro city) in India who were screened positive for anxiety disorder and depression using Depression, Anxiety and Stress scale (DASS21) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI2). These subjects were randomly assigned to an 8 week CBT or EFT treatment program with 1 session per week. All participants were screened after 3 sessions, 5 sessions, 8 sessions and after 1 month of follow up using DASS21 and BDI2. Findings of the study depict that both intervention approaches produce significant reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms. The EFT treatment produced marked improvement in depression after 3 sessions. After 8 weeks of intervention, the CBT group reported significant improvement in depression while EFT intervention therapy showed significant results after 1 month of follow up. Examination of individual cases showed clinically significant improvement in anxiety and depression across both interventions. The results are consistent with the previous studies by Hannah Chatwin et al. (2016). Present findings suggest that EFT is of paramount importance as pivotal tool in managing anxiety and depression in Indian population.
Keywords: CBT, EFT, Anxiety, Depression
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This is another study exploring the application of EFT for moderate depression and severe anxiety. This was a small randomized clinical trial, though it again compares EFT to the gold standard of CBT. This study was performed in India as the researchers stress the importance of providing effective intervention options for mental health conditions, as studies have shown one in 20 Indians suffer from depression especially women in the age-group of 40-49. This study was created as a follow up trial based upon an earlier pilot study “Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques in Reducing Depression and Anxiety among Adults” conducted by Hannah Chatwin et al. in 2016 in Australia. Her study demonstrated significant improvements in both conditions using both CBT and EFT.
Researchers in this trial utilized 2 primary measurement scales: Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale 21 (DASS 21) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI II). This was a considerably small trial with 10 participants (N =10) who were screened positive for anxiety and depression were included. The participants were then randomly assigned to an 8 week program of EFT (N = 5) or CBT (N = 5) of 9 female and 1 male. They were screened for anxiety and depression after 3 sessions, 5 sessions, 8 sessions and 1 month post intervention using DASS 21 and BDI II.
The cohort consisted of 9 women and 1 man between the age group of 35-55 years with participants screened showed no statistically significant difference between groups ,with the average depression in both the groups on BDI II scale considered to be in the moderate range and on DASS 21 scale were is in the severe range. Average anxiety in both the groups received scores 16 (EFT) and 15.2 (CBT) in severe range.
Results revealed the following at increased treatment intervals:
After 3 weeks of intervention, there was a reduction in depression on BDI II scale in EFT group from moderate to borderline clinical depression. After 5 sessions there was a reduction in anxiety and depression in both the intervention therapies.
At 8 weeks, the CBT group reported significant improvement in depression from borderline clinical depression to mild mood disturbance on BDI II scale and from moderate to mild on DASS 21 scale.
After 8 weeks the range of depression in EFT group came down from borderline clinical depression to mild mood disturbance. The authors note that these results help support the findings of Stapleton et al. who reported improvement in participants having major depression with 8 EFT sessions.
A 1 month follow up showed the EFT group significantly showed further improvement in depression and scores across all the tests were within normal range. The CBT group reported a significant reduction in depression after 8 sessions, while EFT group reported a delayed effect.
The overall results demonstrated that the CBT group achieved a slightly greater effect in terms of depression scores post-intervention. The results did indicate a significant (p<0.05) effect was achieved by the CBT group with the depression scores post-intervention, while there was a delayed effect with the EFT group with a significant (p<0.05) reduction in symptoms after 1 month’s follow-up.
This is an interesting finding showing EFT to demonstrate improvement within 3 weekly sessions for both moderate depression and severe anxiety, but its greatest significance in reduction appeared at the 1 month follow up. Authors did not indicate if any self applied EFT intervention occurred after the 8 weeks, indicating the possibility of a growing level of effectiveness even after the intervention ended.
The author’s final comments include: “The findings of the present study indicate that EFT may be an effective treatment approach for anxiety and depression…After the above study the researchers strongly recommend that EFT is of paramount importance as a pivotal tool in managing anxiety and depression in the Indian population. A direct control of emotional state or its control through cognitive processing are both indeed useful and have equally strong effect in correcting behaviour.”