Panic disorder and depression, respectively inflicting 15% and 4% of all persons, can be treated using the Internet, according to information presented at the Swedish medical university, Karolinska Institutet.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) via the Internet is equally effective in treating panic disorder (recurring panic attacks) as traditional group CBT, contends the report, which says that web healing is also efficacious in the treatment of mild and moderate depression.

“Internet based CBT is also more cost effective than group therapy,” says Jan Bergström, psychologist and doctoral student at the Center for Psychiatry Research.

Facing a shortage of CBT specialists, Internet CBT handles patients with self help programs and maintains contacts with a therapists by email. A clinical trial of 104 patients showed that both treatments worked well immediately after treatment and at a six-month follow-up, especially if administered early. However, patients with severe, frequent depressive episodes benefited less from Internet treatment.

“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,” he states.

Furthermore, Bergström notes that their research has resulted in Internet treatment already being implemented within regular health care in Stockholm.

Source: Karolinska Institutet, http://tinyurl.com/y6xs9y2