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Nov 08, 2005

Promising results from internet-based self-help for depression

A study recently published by Andersson and co-workers in British Journal of Psychiatry has found that psychological treatment for depression, delivered over the internet, is reliable and effective.
117 people with mild to moderate depression who met a number of inclusion criteria were included in this randomised controlled trial. The majority came from smaller cities, villages and places outside the larger cities (where university clinics are usually based). 36 participants in the treatment group and 49 in the control group completed post-treatment measures. In total the rate of withdrawal from the programme was 27%. The main reason given was that the treatment was too demanding. Thus the rates of withdrawal differed between the treatment group (37%) and the control group (18%).

It was found that the active treatment, which included standard cognitive-behavioural approaches and behavioural changes, resulted in decreased depressive symptoms immediately after treatment and at the six-month follow-up. There were also benefits in terms of anxiety symptoms and quality of life.


Andersson G, Bergstrom J, Hollandare F, Carlbring P, Kaldo V and Ekselius L (2005) Internet based self-help for depression: randomised controlled trial, British Journal of Psychiatry, 187, 456-461.

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