Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Eases Fear of Falling, Activity Avoidance

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Eases Fear of Falling, Activity Avoidance

Article excerpt

ORLANDO -- Cognitive-behavioral therapy can significantly reduce seniors' fear of falling and the avoidance of activity that accompanies it, according to the preliminary results of a Dutch study.

CBT may also improve depression and quality of life; however, this data remains to be analyzed, reported Rixt Zijlstra, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Previous work by her group has shown that up to 52% of Dutch adults aged 70 years and older have a fear of falling, regardless of whether they have actually fallen in the past, she said at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.

Her study randomized 540 community-living adults aged 70 years or older to CBT or no therapy (control group). All participants felt at least some fear of falling and avoided certain activities as a result of that fear. The CBT was designed to challenge the fear through the exploration and management of concerns about falling, the recognition of risks, and instruction in physical exercises and assertiveness designed to optimize fall prevention. …

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