Recommendation ID

Psychological interventions for depression and anxiety disorders in adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities:- For adults with milder learning disabilities, what is the clinical and cost effectiveness of psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy (modified for people with learning disabilities) for treating depression and anxiety disorders?

Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)

Why this is important:- Psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are clinically and costeffective treatments for anxiety and depression within the general population. While there is some evidence to suggest that these interventions may be useful in treating depression in people with learning disabilities, this is limited. Further research is also needed for CBT for anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The existing evidence on CBT for learning disabilities is based on small feasibility trials, with various and inconsistent adaptations across the studies. Many therapists are also reluctant to use CBT in this population. As a result, people with learning disabilities may be missing out on effective treatments. Effective treatments would reduce unnecessary suffering and impairment, improve quality of life and ultimately should reduce the demand for mental health and social care services.
Modifications of CBT need to be tested in large randomised controlled trials, and any modifications should be clearly explained and documented. In order to achieve an appropriate sample size, several different services may need to cooperate. Important outcomes could include:
- effect on the mental health problem
- cost effectiveness
- health-related quality of life.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Mental health problems in people with learning disabilities: prevention, assessment and management
Date issued
September 2016

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 30/09/2016