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Effectiveness of cognitive-analytic therapy (CAT) in major depression and systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report


A significant number of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) suffer from depression. Most episodes of depression in SLE seem to be caused by non-organic factors i.e. patients' responses to the burden of disease and the social consequences of the disease. Therapeutic interventions should consist of a combined pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment. Cognitive Analytic Psychotherapy (CAT) is a form of brief psychotherapy -its effectiveness has been showed in several studies with patients who manifested various psychological problems. The present study aims to present the appliance of CAT in a patient with SLE and depression.

Materials and methods

A 35-year-old married woman had a 12-years history of SLE. She attended a Community Mental Health Center (CMCH) in Thessaloniki (Greece) manifesting depressed mood, anhedonia, sleep disturbance, and difficulty in the interpersonal relationships. She received a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (according to DSM-IV criteria) and CAT was applied in combination with antidepressant medication (10mg escitalopram/day).


After a 16-sessions course of CAT, the patient showed significantly improvement. Furthermore, for first time during the last decade there was also an improvement in SLE laboratory screening tests i.e. CRP, C, C3, C4, which lead to a reduction of the corticosteroid pharmacotherapy. This improvement was well stabilized for -at least- the next six months.


It is of interest that a brief psychotherapy, i.e. CAT, could be effective both in reducing psychological distress and medical symptoms in SLE.


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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Katsigiannopoulos, K., Garyfallos, G., Pazarlis, P. et al. Effectiveness of cognitive-analytic therapy (CAT) in major depression and systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S278 (2008).

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