Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 641-647

Efficacy of adjunctive single session counseling for medically unexplained symptoms: A randomized controlled trial

1 Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
2 Department of Psychiatry and National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Vikas Menon
Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Dhanvantri Nagar, Puducherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_73_17

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Context: Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) are often poorly responsive to standard treatments. Aim: The aim of the study is to assess short-term efficacy of adjunctive single session cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)-based counseling for patients with MUS. Setting and Design: Randomized controlled trial at a psychosomatic clinic of a tertiary care hospital. Materials and Methods: Patients with MUS were randomized to receive either the single session counseling (intervention group) (n = 41) or control group which received treatment as usual (n = 35). The counseling intervention focused on three areas – cognitive reattribution, shifting focus, and guided muscular relaxation and lasted around 30 min. The two groups were assessed at baseline and after 1 month for change in outcome measures. Statistical Analysis Used: Repeated measures analysis of variance. P value was adjusted for multiple comparisons using Bonferroni correction and set at <0.01 for significance. Results: Both groups did not differ on change in the primary outcome measure: Patient Health Questionnaire – 15 scores (P = 0.055). However, at follow-up, the intervention group showed statistically greater reduction in the number of workdays lost (P = 0.005). Trend level changes were noted for depressive symptom reduction only in the intervention group (P = 0.022). Conclusions: One session CBT-based therapy demonstrates potentially important benefits over standard care among Indian patients with MUS. Further testing in larger samples with longer follow-up periods is therefore recommended.

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