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Br J Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;198(3):230-6. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.086843.

Internet-based cognitive-behavioural therapy for severe health anxiety: randomised controlled trial.

Author information

1
Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Stockholm, Sweden. erik.hedman.2@ki.se

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hypochondriasis, characterised by severe health anxiety, is a common condition associated with functional disability. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective but not widely disseminated treatment for hypochondriasis. Internet-based CBT, including guidance in the form of minimal therapist contact via email, could be a more accessible treatment, but no study has investigated internet-based CBT for hypochondriasis.

AIMS:

To investigate the efficacy of internet-based CBT for hypochondriasis.

METHOD:

A randomised controlled superiority trial with masked assessment comparing internet-based CBT (n = 40) over 12 weeks with an attention control condition (n = 41) for people with hypochondriasis. The primary outcome measure was the Health Anxiety Inventory. This trial is registrated with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00828152).

RESULTS:

Participants receiving internet-based CBT made large and superior improvements compared with the control group on measures of health anxiety (between-group Cohen's d range 1.52-1.62).

CONCLUSIONS:

Internet-based CBT is an efficacious treatment for hypochondriasis that has the potential to increase accessibility and availability of CBT for hypochodriasis.

Comment in

PMID:
21357882
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.110.086843
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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