Friday, August 07, 2009

Is group therapy the way forward for anxiety disorders? Maybe not.

It is thought that between 15-25% of people have an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives. Anxiety disorder sufferers are often treated in groups despite their being a limited evidence base for this. They often use relaxation, cognitive-behavioural techniques and the group process. In 1990 a taught, anxiety-management package for groups using cognitive behaviour therapy called Stress Control was developed that can be given to 60 people at a time and the early trials of this have shown it to be effective. Researchers from Cardiff University studied 73 people with anxiety disorders. The participants were divided into three groups. One group received the Stress Control package in an evening class, one group attended an anxiety-management group and a control group was put on a waiting list. There was no significant long-term effect for either anxiety-management or Stress Control. Being depressed at the start of the study was associated with a poorer outcome at the end of it.

Kitchiner, Neil J. ... [et al] - A randomized controlled trial comparing an adult education class using cognitive behavioural therapy ("stress control"), anxiety management group treatment and a waiting list for anxiety disorders Journal of Mental Health August 2009, 18(4), 307-315

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