Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common therapeutic approach used to address a variety of mental health issues. However, not everyone has access to CBT services. The financial burden of receiving treatment can also prohibit many individuals from reaping the rewards of this type of therapy. Untreated mental health conditions extract a big cost from individuals, families, and society. For people with health anxiety, the overuse of medical services can put a financial burden on communities and families. Therefore, it is imperative that people with health anxiety be provided every opportunity to get the help they need, including access to CBT, which has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of anxiety. Utilizing modern technology may be one way to accomplish this, but little research has tested the effectiveness of this type of approach.
To validate the effectiveness of Internet CBT (ICBT), Erik Hedman of the Division of Psychology and the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden recently conducted a study comparing the immediate and long-term effects of ICBT to an attention control method (CC) in a sample of 81 participants with health anxiety. He found that those in the ICBT condition improved far more than those in the CC. Also, each case of remission that occurred in the ICBT group led to a statistical financial gain for society, decreasing the overall economic burden of health anxiety. Additionally, the gains made during the ICBT were maintained over the one year follow-up period.
These results are significant for many reasons. First, ICBT requires a minimal investment of time for therapists. In fact, in this study, therapists invested approximately two hours of time for each participant during the one year period. This factor alone is promising as the minimal investment of time and resources allows therapists to extend their therapeutic reach without compromising consistency and effectiveness. Also, results show that most relapses will occur prior to one year. In this study, the gains made during ICBT were mostly maintained over the one year period, indicating that the long-term costs of personal and societal burden were dramatically reduced. “From an economic societal health-care policy perspective, the findings strongly support the implementation of ICBT because health gains can be made while reducing the net costs of the disorder,” said Hedman.
Hedman, E., et al. Cost effectiveness and long-term effectiveness of Internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy for severe health anxiety. Psychological medicine 43.2 (2013): 363-74. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.