Question: In older adults with anxiety disorders, how effective is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) compared with other forms of psychotherapy or treatment as usual or wait-list control, for improving patient outcomes?


Evidence from four systematic reviews, all with significant methodological weaknesses, particularly with respect to evidence synthesis, and one additional small RCT of moderate quality, indicates that CBT may be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, worry and depression in older adults with anxiety disorder when compared to a non-active control condition. However, these effects were observed immediately post-treatment and there was no consistent evidence to indicate that effects were sustained in the long-term. Available evidence suggested no consistent differences in effectiveness between CBT and other active treatments (including psychotherapies, supportive therapy or pharmacotherapy). Further research is needed to explore the long term effects of CBT and to provide data on its effectiveness compared to individual alternative treatments.

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