In Psychotherapy Is Worth It: A Comprehensive Review of Its Cost-Effectiveness, edited by Susan G. Lazar, M.D., and co-authored with members of the Committee on Psychotherapy of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, surveys the medical, psychiatric and psychological literature from 1984 to 2007 that is relevant to the cost-effectiveness of all kinds of psychotherapy. The volume explores the cost of providing psychotherapy in relation to its impact both on health and on the costs to society of psychiatric illness and related conditions.
Written for psychotherapists, psychiatric benefit providers, policy makers, and others interested in the cost-effectiveness of providing psychotherapeutic treatments, this book analyzes the burden of mental illness, particularly in the United States, and the enormous associated costs to society that constitute a chronic, insufficiently recognized crisis in the health of our nation. The authors point out that in the United States nearly 30% of the population over the age of 18 has a diagnosable psychiatric disorder and yet only about 33% of those treated receive minimally adequate care. In fact, most people with mental disorders in the United States remain untreated or poorly treated, leading to loss in productivity, higher rates of absenteeism, increased costs, morbidity and mortality from medical illnesses, and loss of life through suicide.
This book provides a systematic and comprehensive review of 25 years of medical literature on the cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy and discusses the:
• Epidemiology of mental illness, including prevalence and treatment rates • Misconceptions and stigmas associated with psychiatric illness and the provision of psychotherapy and how they affect those most in need of care • Cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy for the major psychiatric disorders as well as savings that psychotherapy can yield in increased health, work productivity, lives saved, and lowered medical and hospital related costs
For instance, in a review of 18 studies conducted from 1984 to 1994, psychotherapy was found to be cost-effective in treating patients with severe disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder, and led to improved work functioning and decreased hospitalization. Likewise, studies point to the enhancement of outcomes when psychotherapy is used in conjunction with medical therapies in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and other prevalent, chronic diseases.
Psychotherapy Is Worth It: A Comprehensive Review of Its Cost-Effectiveness concludes that studies confirm psychotherapy works for many conditions, is cost-effective, and is not over-used by those persons not truly in need. A treatment that is cost-effective is not “cheap”; rather, it can provide effective medical help at a cost acceptable to society, in comparison both to other effective treatments for the same condition and to medical treatments for other classes of mental disorder.
About the Author:
Susan G. Lazar, M.D., is Past Chair of the Committee on Psychotherapy, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; and Supervising and Training Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.