Online interventions for anxiety disorders


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewThe present article updates knowledge regarding the evidence base for online interventions for anxiety disorders, and provides an overview of recent advances in online interventions for anxiety over the past 18 months.Recent findingsComputerized self-help is an effective strategy for providing evidence-based treatments for symptoms of anxiety and depression. Online delivery has numerous advantages for clinicians and patients, including greater accessibility, anonymity, convenience and cost-effectiveness. These may be particularly important for populations experiencing anxiety, which may face more pronounced barriers to accessing care. Recent meta-analyses have confirmed that computerized cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for anxiety demonstrates comparable clinical outcomes as face-to-face psychotherapy for individuals with anxiety. This review updates the status of current knowledge by providing a focused review of randomized controlled trials of computerized (including Internet and portable device-delivered) treatments for anxiety.SummaryRecent studies have confirmed the utility of computerized psychotherapy for anxiety. Future trials are required to elucidate the active constituents of effective programs, evaluate targeted approaches for specific groups, and to ascertain the optimal degree of guidance required. Clarification of these issues will assist in refining effective online programs operating within standalone virtual clinics or incorporated into clinician-supported stepped care approaches.

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