Panic Disorders
Online CBT is Effective in Depression & Panic Disorders: RCT
Apr 14, 2010 - 11:58:04 AM

The online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is as effective in treating panic disorder and depression as the traditional group-based method, a new study has found.

'Internet-based CBT is also more cost-effective than group therapy,' said Jan Bergstrom, a researcher with the Center for Psychiatry Research at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institute.

'The results therefore support the introduction of internet treatment into regular psychiatry, which is also what the National Board of Health and Welfare recommends in its new guidelines for the treatment of depression and anxiety,' Bergstrom said.

It is estimated that depression affects some 15 percent and panic disorder 4 percent of all people during their lifetime.

Depression can include symptoms such as low mood, lack of joy, guilt, lethargy, concentration difficulties, insomnia and a low zest for life.

It is known from previous studies that CBT is an effective treatment for both panic disorder and depression. However, there is a lack of psychologists and psychotherapists that use CBT methods, and access to them varies greatly in Sweden as well as in many other countries. Internet-based CBT has therefore been developed, in which the patient undergoes an Internet-based self-help programme and has contact with a therapist by email.

In the internet-based CBT, the patient undergoes an online self-help counselling programme and can contact a therapist via email.

The new research is based on a random clinical trial of 104 patients with panic disorder and comparison of the effectiveness of internet-based CBT and group CBT within a regular healthcare service.

Both treatments worked very well and there was no significant difference between them, either immediately after treatment or at a six-month follow-up, the research said.

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