Current Status of Internet-based Treatment for Panic Disorder

Increasingly, the internet is being used as a source of mental health information as well as structured treatment programs for people with mental health concerns or problems. The main focus of this review is on these uses of the internet for panic disorder, one of the more common and disabling anxiety disorders. Although the available evidence is limited, it appears that internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective intervention for panic disorder, and that it is more effective than some other self-help therapies. The evidence suggests that this mode of intervention is associated with clinically significant change, improved psychological well-being and functioning, and low participant attrition provided that timely, limited therapist assistance is also provided. Treatment credibility and participant satisfaction, as well as assessment and crisis management issues are also considered. Although promising as a form of intervention, there is a need for more research on the efficacy of internet-based treatment and for comparisons with evidence-based face-to-face therapies.

Keywords: Internet-based treatment; panic disorder; self-help techniques; computer-assisted therapy.