Treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS) comes with significant medical comorbidities, including heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes—all of which contribute to higher mortality rates and shortened life expectancy. Second-generation antipsychotic medications do not consistently alleviate psychotic symptoms, especially among patients with TRS. Clozapine, the gold standard of pharmacological treatment for TRS, offers only partial relief for many patients. Additional treatment approaches, which include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are often necessary.
The aim of this integrative review was to assess the efficacy of CBT as an adjunctive treatment for TRS in various study populations.
The Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice Model and Guidelines were used to guide the review. A literature search of PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, and PsycInfo was conducted, and a total of 66 articles were identified. Strong inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to ensure that only high-quality studies were included for analysis.
Of the eight studies that met the eligibility criteria, five indicated that CBT has statistically significant efficacy in reducing positive psychotic symptoms of TRS. There was also evidence that in implementing CBT, a follow-up period of at least six months helps to sustain improvements.
CBT can be a safe and effective adjunctive treatment for patients with this illness. We recommend that nurses who work in psychiatric settings, EDs, and home health or community care settings obtain training in CBT.