Friday, August 17, 2007

E-mails and phone calls can help people with panic disorder

Studies have shown that there are now several effective treatments for panic disorder. However, not everyone with the condition gets them. This can be due to a shortage of skilled therapists and/or long waiting lists. People in rural areas can have difficulty reaching services and those with agoraphobia may be reluctant to leave the house to seek help. A Swedish trial divided 60 people with panic disorder into two groups. One group received cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) delivered via telephone or e-mail while the other group was put on a waiting list. After 10 weeks those in the CBT group had improved significantly on all the measurements, an improvement maintained at a 9-month follow-up. By the end of the trial 77% of the treated group no longer showed symptoms of panic disorder while all those in the control group still suffered from it.

Carlbring, Per ... [et al] - Remote treatment of panic disorder : a randomized trial of Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy supplemented with telephone calls American Journal of Psychiatry 2006; 163: 2119-2125

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