Panic disorder, depression can be treated over Internet: Study

STOCKHOLM: Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) via the Internet is just as effective in treating panic disorder (recurring panic attacks) as traditional group-based CBT, according to a new research from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institute (KI).

“Internet-based CBT is also more cost-effective than group therapy,” said Jan Bergstrom, a doctoral student at the Center for Psychiatry Research at KI, reports China’s Xinhua news agency.

“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 in a statement.

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

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

In the Internet-based CBT, the patient undergoes an Internet- based self-help program and has contact with a therapist by email.

The present doctoral thesis includes a randomised clinical trial of 104 patients with panic disorder and compares the effectiveness of Internet-based CBT and group CBT within a regular healthcare service.

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

Karolinska Institute becomes famous around the world partly because the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is decided here every year. – Bernama

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