Who Answers?
This site is authored by American Addiction Centers - a specialist in drug and alcohol addiction treatment. If you are interested in learning more about our options for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, please call 888-480-1703 to speak with an admissions navigator.
Call 888-480-1703

Do It Yourself Depression Therapy Effective, Study Shows


A new study out of the University of Glasgow suggests self-help books that lead a patient through cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) are an effective alternative to CBT led by a trained therapist. The results of the recently published study compared the effectiveness of a self-help book read in conjunction with support sessions to normal care for the treatment of depression. The purpose of the study was to see if CBT can be effective in a guided self-help book format.

Cognitive-behavior therapy is a proven method of treatment for depression. It is based upon the principal that people can help manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.

Sometimes people have difficulty accessing normal CBT due to financial reasons, time constraints, or some other reason. If someone is having difficulty accessing treatment, will do-it-yourself therapy act as an effective substitute?

According to this Scottish study, the answer to that question would be yes. As a matter of fact, the study found that people assigned to the group using self-help books had even greater improvements that those who received regular care.

However, one may suspect that there may be some bias involved in this study because the lead author of the research paper published on the study is also the author of the self-help book evaluated in the study. That could create some conflict of interest, right?

He could stand to make millions of dollars if the study leads large numbers of people to seek self-led CBT. So, the author has put all of his data on display as per PLoS One editorial guidelines on transparency.

Personally, I wonder about this kind of thing. It would be hard for me to lead myself through a CBT session. I would miss the human contact and the person-to-person dialogue that takes place during normal CBT. However, if it were the only method of treatment available, I may feel differently.

This type of research is classified as a Randomized Controlled Trial, or RCT. To measure results, scientists used the Beck Depression Inventory, which was designed to assess depressive symptoms. The trial was performed in a community setting. The length of the study was twelve months. Two groups were involved, each made up of about 140 people.

Overall the study was well done and adds support to the theory that a do-it-yourself approach to depression therapy may be effective. The data shows us that both kinds of treatment were effective, but the self-help book self-led method of treatment was actually more effective.


Now give yourself a pat on the back.



1. Williams, Christopher. Wilson, Philip. Morrison, Jill. McMahon, Alex. Walker, Andrew. Allan, Lesley. McConnachie, Alex. McNeill, Yvonne. Tansey, Louise. “Guided Self-Help Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial.” PLos One. na. Web. 12 March 2013.


Related posts:

Written by

Kevin Giles is a product of Santa Cruz, CA – the stoner capitol of the world. A born again Christian, Kevin loves his Lord Jesus and believes that his purpose in life is determined by God. He first entered drug recovery at the age of 19, suffering from an addiction to marijuana. He is a recent graduate of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master’s degree in Christian Ministry. Passionate about God’s Word, he aspires to become a pastor or missionary. Kevin has also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Monterey Bay. His interests include traveling, movies, golf, fitness and reading. He also enjoys being outdoors as well as spending time with friends and family. Kevin’s faith, education and life experience give him a unique perspective on addiction, recovery and spirituality.

Filed under: Latest News · Tags: CBT, cognitive-behavior therapy, depression, PLoS One, Randomized Controlled Trial, RCT, Research, Self-Help, therapy, Treatment is operated by Recovery Brands LLC, a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers, Inc.
Learn more about what this means here
© 2019 All Rights ReservedPrivacy Policy | Terms Of Use is operated by Recovery Brands LLC, a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers, INC.
An American Addiction Centers Resource