Delusions of persecution in psychiatric patients can be reduced with just six sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy, a new clinical trial has found. Using CBT in this way could potentially help to prevent mental illnesses occurring in at-risk people.

The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, was carried out by researchers at the Universities of Southampton, Oxford and Manchester and was funded by the UK’s Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Program.

Persecutory delusions are unrealistic beliefs that others are intentionally trying to harm the person. This severe paranoia is a key problem in many mental health conditions, including schizophrenia.

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