For those suffering from recurring panic attacks or mild to moderate depression, a new kind of internet-based therapy may be just as effective as traditional group-based therapy, a study suggests.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on helping us understand how irrational (and sometimes unconscious) thoughts can lead to negative feelings and behaviors. Long known to be an effective treatment for both panic disorder and depression, CBT can be difficult for some patients to obtain because of limited access or resources.
With internet-based CBT therapy, the patient undergoes an online self-help program and has contact with a therapist by mail. Psychologist and doctoral student Jan Bergström and colleagues developed the program in Stockholm. They then ran a randomized clinical trial of 104 patients with panic disorder. The effectiveness of online CBT was compared with group CBT at a regular healthcare service. It was discovered that both treatments worked very well; there were no differences in results immediately after treatment or at a six-month follow-up. For patients with depression, the internet-based treatment was found to be most effective if administered as early as online casino possible. In patients with severe depression, the online therapy was less effective.
The findings will soon be presented in a doctoral thesis by Bergström at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Similar research proved that therapy via teleconference may also be effective for treatment of phobias, depression, and anxiety.
Panic disorder and depression often go hand in hand, because many people develop depression in reaction to their anxiety disorder. By seeking treatment early on, people can work toward freeing themselves of these very distressing symptoms. Online therapy is relatively new, but if it could prove to be a fantastic alternative for people that live in remote areas or who may not have sought treatment otherwise. The key with online therapy, and any mental health therapy, is to check and make sure that the therapist is board certified.