Why it is time to develop the use of cognitive event-related potentials in the treatment of psychiatric diseases
Laboratory of Medical Psychology and Addictology, ULB Neuroscience Institute (UNI), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
Abstract: The relapse rate for many psychiatric disorders is staggeringly high, indicating that treatment methods combining psychotherapy with neuropharmacological interventions are not entirely effective. Therefore, in psychiatry, there is a current push to develop alternatives to psychotherapy and medication-based approaches. Cognitive deficits have gained considerable importance in the field as critical features of mental illness, and it is now believed that they might represent valid therapeutic targets. Indeed, an increase in cognitive skills has been shown to have a long-lasting, positive impact on the patients' quality of life and their clinical symptoms. We hereby present four principal arguments supporting the use of event-related potentials (ERP) that are derived from electroencephalography, which allow the identification of specific neurocognitive deficiencies in patients. These arguments could assist psychiatrists in the development of individualized, targeted therapy, as well as a follow-up and rehabilitation plan specific to each patient's deficit. Furthermore, they can be used as a tool to assess the possible benefits of combination therapy, consisting of medication, psychotherapy, and "ERP-oriented cognitive rehabilitation". Using this strategy, specific cognitive interventions could be planned based on each patient's needs, for an "individualized" or "personalized" therapy, which may have the potential to reduce relapse rates for many psychiatric disorders. The implementation of such a combined approach would require intense collaboration between psychiatry departments, clinical neurophysiology laboratories, and neuropsychological rehabilitation centers.
Keywords: neuropsychiatry, relapse, neurophysiology, neuropsychology, cognitive rehabilitation, event-related potentials
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