Tags: British | Doctors | Prescribe | Reading | Rather | than | Prozac

British Doctors Prescribe Reading Rather than Prozac

Tuesday, 09 August 2005 12:00 AM

The program, called "bibliotherapy," is also a cost-saving measure. The state-run health care system in the UK can't afford one-to-one counseling for everyone, and patients can wait as long as 18 months for an appointment.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence, a British health agency, endorsed bibliotherapy in December, recommending that physicians try self-help books or other kinds of counseling before medication.

"Concerns about overuse of antidepressants – and about how to treat the growing depression burden in general – have been voiced in many countries, including the U.S., making the British experiment a test case for others to watch," the Post reports.

Bibliotherapy has been used to treat thousands of patients and could reach 250,000 within a few years, according to Neil Frude, a psychologist who set up the first bibliotherapy program in Wales three years ago.

In the UK most cases of mild to moderate depression are diagnosed by a general physician, who sends the patient to a mental-health worker. The worker prescribes a self-help book and meets with the patient several times to discuss the book and make sure the treatment is effective.

The books being prescribed include several from the "Overcoming" series from publisher Constable & Robinson, such as "Overcoming Panic," "Overcoming Anxiety" and "Overcoming Childhood Trauma," plus "Mind Over Mood" and "The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook."

Sales of the "Overcoming" series will grow 20 to 25 percent this year thanks to bibliotherapy, according to the Post.

But bibliotherapy is not without its risks. Patients may fail to read the books, and in a few cases severely depressed people have been directed to the self-help program when more serious treatment was required.

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The program, called "bibliotherapy," is also a cost-saving measure. The state-run health care system in the UK can't afford one-to-one counseling for everyone, and patients can wait as long as 18 months for an appointment. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence, a...
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2005-00-09
Tuesday, 09 August 2005 12:00 AM
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