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Internet Based Therapy Has Side Effects

Update Date: Feb 09, 2017 07:30 AM EST

Internet based therapy can have negative side effects, too just like any other medicine, according to a recent ground-breaking research. Not all people who suffer from depression and anxiety get better. Some actually got worse.

A new dissertation from Stockholm University looked into the effectiveness of online cognitive behavioural therapy. According to psychologist Alexander Rozental, PhD., therapy is an effective treatment for various kinds of mental illness. However, there are patients that might actually get worse or experience side effects from their treatment.

Online cognitive behavioural therapy is like a self-help book with the support of psychologist through email. It is a method that is recommended by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare guidelines. The local government rely heavily on this method.

Rozental believes that the dissertation is the first to examine the side effects of internet based therapy. There are no international researches that have looked into this method, that's why he strongly believes in its importance. If local government and other medical bodies will adapt this method, they have to be aware of the risks.

The dissertation followed on 3,000 patients who availed of the internet based therapy. Among the subjects, six percent got worse during the treatment. In a different study, individuals who received psychotherapy in an outpatient psychiatric setting were also asked if they have encountered any form of side effects.

A third of the study population had a recurrence of difficult memory, more anxiety and felt stressed. They also have a poor relationship with the therapist and even a low quality form of treatment. During therapy, an individual is more likely to feel negative emotions as he relives unpleasant experience.

Rozental says that a better understanding of the side effects of a treatment, like an internet based therapy, can help therapists catch patients from becoming worse or prevent them from getting side effects.

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