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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2000 Oct;6(9):434-42.

Cognitive behavioural therapy in pain management for sickle cell disease.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust, St Thomas's Hospital, London, UK.


It is well established that the treatment of pain is improved by the incorporation of psychological, social and behavioural components in that treatment (Rosenthiel and Keefe), 1983). However, until very recently, the management of sickle cell disease (SCD) in British hospitals has focused exclusively on the physical dimension of pain (Thomas et al, 1998). Although pain is wrong (vaso-occlusive crisis), every individual reacts in a different way. This reaction is influenced in part by immediate role models, usually within the family, and by a person's cognition (thought patterns, beliefs and expectations) in relation to the pain. This paper presents research that has shown that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in SCD is an effective aid in the treatment of chronic pain, reducing psychological distress and boosting confidence.

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