Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with an increased risk for psychological complications. For example, anxiety and depression are very common after TBI, and can significantly limit recovery. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps to correct distorted thinking patterns and subsequent behaviors. CBT has been shown to be effective for anxiety in patients with mild TBI. However, its effectiveness has not been sufficiently studied in patients with moderate or severe brain injury.
In recent two case studies aimed at developing CBT treatment protocols for moderate-severe TBI patients, researchers found that CBT was indeed effective. Both patients showed a positive treatment response on either a measure of anxiety or a continuous measure of distress. Both also described specific coping strategies they had adopted through CBT.
It is suggested that CBT programs be developed specifically for patients with anxiety and moderate to severe TBI. These programs should be somewhat standardized, but maintain flexibility to meet the needs of patients with a range of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms.
Hsieh M-Y, Ponsford J, Wong D, et al. A cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) programme for anxiety following moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI): Two case studies. Brain Injury (February 2012).