The PsicAP study proposes adding a psychological treatment in PC

1 de March de 2021

The PsicAP project is the largest mental health care clinical trial ever conducted in Spain to date, about the efficacy of psychological treatment for people with emotional disorders in Primary Care (PC). The study has just published its results in the journal Psychological Medicine. The results confirm that adding a group psychological treatment of 7 transdiagnosis sessions manages to triple the percentage of people who reliably recover with respect to the usual treatment in PC. These effects are maintained 12 months after the intervention ends. The therapeutic effects are not limited to symptoms of anxiety, depression and somatic symptoms without organic explanation, but a significant difference was also observed in favor of the experimental treatment in the different aspects of functioning and quality of life evaluated.

The PsicAP was conducted inin 22 health centers throughout Spain, with 1,061 adult patients with emotional disorders were enrolled., including the one in Camargo Costa de Cantabria. The project is led by Dr. Antonio Cano Vindel, professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, and has the participation of Dr. César González-Blanch, a researcher at HUMV-IDIVAL, who has contributed in part to the financing of the study to through PRIMVAL and INNVAL grants.

It is estimated that approximately one in three PC visits has a mental health problem as the main reason, the most common being anxiety and depression problems of mild-moderate intensity, but which have an appreciable negative impact on different areas of functioning and quality of life. In these cases, the treatment recommended by clinical guidelines is psychological treatment. However, given the absence of clinical psychologists in PC, the only way to access psychological treatment is through referral to Mental Health Units for specialized care, which is why only a very small part of people receive it. The PsicAP study tried to verify the efficacy of adding in PC a psychological treatment designed for this context, that is, brief, group and for people with different emotional disorders of mild-moderate intensity.

Together, the results indicate the convenience of facilitating early access to psychological treatments in PC in order to achieve a greater recovery for people with the most prevalent mental health problems in PC. This would not only be a benefit for patients but also for society as a whole given the high social costs associated with the most prevalent mental disorders, mainly derived from temporary or permanent incapacity for work. However, the multiprofessional PC teams in Cantabria do not yet include the figure of a clinical psychologist who can facilitate access to this type of psychological treatment without depending on referral to specialized, which is saturated.

Ref.: Cano-Vindel, A., Muñoz-Navarro, R., Moriana, J., Ruiz-Rodríguez, P., Medrano, L., & González-Blanch, C. (2021). Transdiagnostic group cognitive behavioural therapy for emotional disorders in primary care: The results of the PsicAP randomized controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. doi:10.1017/S0033291720005498