Internet treatment programs for anxiety and depressive disorders are becoming available and offer cost-effective alternatives to face-to-face treatment with medication or cognitive behaviour therapy.
The Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, offers internet treatment courses at the VirtualClinic (http://www.virtualclinic.org.au) for people who meet diagnostic criteria for major depression, social phobia, panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. These courses are free to people recruited for research.
The results of VirtualClinic trials show a high level of patient adherence and strong reductions in symptoms, and that very little clinician time is required.
The four treatment programs that have been successfully evaluated in the VirtualClinic have been made available on a not-for-profit basis ($5 service fee) at the CRUfADclinic (http://www.crufadclinic.org) for general practitioners and other clinicians to use with their patients.
These programs could be the first level of treatment in a stepped-care environment, where patients who do not benefit sufficiently could then receive face-to-face treatment from their clinician or be referred for specialist treatment.
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