Online platform improved mental health in mood, anxiety disorder patients

Accessing an online cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT) program could improve the quality of life of patients with mood and anxiety disorders, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Patients with depression or anxiety can face barriers to accessing effective care outside of a physician's office. While collaborative care has shown improved results for patients with mood disorders, evidence supporting online care is lacking. This study evaluated an online CCBT program and an additional internet support group in handling patients with mood disorders.

The study enrolled 704 patients with depression or anxiety and split them into group receiving CCBT, CCBT and ISG or conventional care. Measures of depression and anxiety symptoms were collected for six months to measure quality of life. CCBT and CCBT with ISG patients showed similar improvements to mental health-related quality of life. Additionally, CCBT patients experienced more improvements compared to patients receiving conventional care.

“The internet support group in this study did not produce additional benefit over CCBT alone for patients in primary care with depression or anxiety but CCBT as part of a collaborative care program was more effective than usual care,” concluded first author Bruce L. Rollman, MD, MPH, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues. “The study focuses further attention on the emerging field of e-mental health.”