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Those Aussies Create Online Help for Panic Attacks, Too

15 Nov

Researchers from St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Australia, measured the efficacy of an internet-based, clinician-assisted, cognitive behavioral treatment program (The Panic Program) for panic disorder (with agoraphobia) as compared to waitlist controls…

Fifty-nine individuals suffering from panic disorder with agoraphobia were randomly assigned to a treatment group or to a waitlist control group. Treatment group participants completed the Panic program, comprising of six on-line lessons, weekly homework assignments, weekly email contact from a psychiatry registrar, and contributed to a moderated online discussion forum with other participants.

Twenty-three (79%) of the treatment group participants completed all lessons within the 8-week program, and post-treatment data were collected from 22/29 treatment group and 22/25 waitlist group participants.  Compared to the control group, treatment group participants reported significantly reduced symptoms of panic as measured by the Panic Disorder Severity Scale, Body Sensation Questionnaire, and Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaires.

Significant reductions were also reported on measures of disability and depression. The mean within- and between-group effect size (Cohen's d) on the Panic Disorder Severity Scale was 0.93 and 0.59, respectively, and effects were sustained at the 1-month follow-up.  Mean therapist time per participant was 75 minutes for the program.

These results replicate those from the open trial of the Panic Program indicating the efficacy of the Internet-based clinician-assisted cognitive behavioral treatment program for panic disorder with agoraphobia.

Citation:  Wims E, Titov N, Andrews G, Choi I. Clinician-assisted Internet-based treatment is effective for panic: A randomized controlled trial. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2010 Jul; 44 (7): pages 599-607.
 

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award and was released in paperback January of 2006.