In the first phase of the Internet in the 1990s, we witnessed how it broke down mental health barriers by providing individuals with information about mental disorders and treatment options. Before 1990 or so, the only way to look up the “official” symptoms for a disorder was either to get to a local library that had a copy of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, or ask a mental health professional or advocacy group about the symptoms (and hope they don’t leave out anything).
But the Internet broke down the arbitrary wall — that this information was somehow “special” and shouldn’t be given to people directly. People suddenly could learn about depression, or anxiety, or ADHD on their own without ever leaving their home. With greater education comes greater awareness of these concerns, and hopefully more people seeking treatment when the problem significantly interferes or impacts their life.
In the past decade, we’ve seen the rise of the second phase of the online mental health revolution — interactive self-help programs that can help alleviate the symptoms of significant mental health concerns. Online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one such intervention and the one used by a recent study. Could online CBT be just as effective as regular CBT to treat a common anxiety concern, panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia)?
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