A Pilot Trial of ‘Panic Online’ as a Self-Guided Treatment for Panic Disorder
Panic Online (PO) is a well-established evidence-based internet intervention program for panic disorder (PD) (with or without agoraphobia), when supported by a therapist (email or face-to-face). However, there has been no exploration to date as to whether PO is also effective when administered in a self-guided format (i.e. with no therapist assistance provided). The objective of this pilot trial was to examine whether PO as a self-guided program was effective at reducing panic symptomatology and furthermore, whether participants found the program format satisfactory. Pre- and post-treatment clinical interviews were conducted by telephone with six participants and experience of using the self-guided PO program was also explored. Paired samples t-tests revealed that PD and agoraphobia were significantly reduced by post-treatment, but panic frequency (over the previous month) did not significantly change. Qualitatively, all participants reported being satisfied with the program, however all participants reported that access to human support during the intervention (e.g. to answer questions, to be heard, to help motivate) was preferable. Initial pilot data suggests that PO self-guided works effectively as a stand-alone clinical internet-based treatment program for PD, however additional research is required to definitively establish its efficacy.
Computer-aided psychotherapy; panic disorder and agoraphobia; self-help; CBT