Background: panic disorder (PD) is a highly prevalent condition. Computer-assisted psychotherapy with cognitive behavioral approach has been successful for treating PD, in some cases comparable to face to face CBT. The overall objective of this thesis is to assess in the Spanish population, the online self-help program "Free from Anxiety" in people with panic disorder.
Method: Ninety-five participants were diagnosed with PD through the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). They also completed a battery of instruments to evaluate the frequency, intensity and severity of the PD, agoraphobic avoidance, anxiety and symptoms of depression and anxiety sensitivity, through the instruments: PDSS, BAI, BDI and ASI. Then the subjects were randomized to one of two groups, one with 49 subjects receiving treatment and another with 46 control subjects on the waiting list.
Results: Participants who received treatment improved significantly compared with the waiting list group, in frequency of panic attacks (p <0.05), in the intensity of attacks (p <0.05) and in severity of agoraphobic avoidance (p <0.05) as measured by PDSS. Participants in the treatment group also showed a significant improvement compared to control group in both symptoms of generalized anxiety (BAI test) (p <0.05) as well as in reducing the fear of anxiety symptoms, measured with ASI (p <0.05). Furthermore they decreased symptoms of depression (BDI test) (p <0.05), with a significant difference compared to the control group.
Conclusion: We found that online self-help program "Free from Anxiety" was effective in treating panic. Participants improved significantly in the scales used, compared to individuals on the waiting list. The results were maintained six months after the treatment.