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The use of alternative therapies by people with mental health problems seems to be rising. Are the people who access alternative therapies those with mild or more severe problems? A postal survey was undertaken of enquirers responding to a teletext article on self-help psychotherapies for obsessive–compulsive disorder and agoraphobia. Respondents were asked to rate the severity and duration of their problem and the therapies and services they had used.
Of 326 questionnaires sent out, 113 (35%) completed questionnaires were returned. Seventeen (15%) respondents had sought no help for their anxiety problems, 76 (67%) had been treated by their general practitioner (GP), 62 (55%) by a psychiatrist or psychologist and 48 (42%) had used alternative therapies. People who had sought help from their GP did not rate their problems significantly more severe than those who had not sought treatment. Those who had been treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist and those who had used alternative therapies rated their problem as being significantly more severe than those who had not sought help for it.
In this selected sample it was the more severe anxiety sufferers who had used alternative therapies.
Computerised self-help psychotherapies are fast becoming part of psychiatric practice. The aim of the study was to assess potential user preferences for the delivery of self-help psychotherapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and phobic anxiety disorders. A postal survey was undertaken of enquirers responding to a teletext article on self-help psychotherapies for OCD and agoraphobia. Subjects were asked their preferences for the delivery of self-help services for anxiety disorders, their acceptance or refusal of general practitioner (GP) referrals for such therapy, and how much they would be willing to pay for such a service.
Of 326 questionnaires sent out 113 completed questionnaires were returned (35%). Twenty-seven per cent of respondents did not wish to access such services via their GP, 91% wanted access via a computer system and respondents were willing to pay an average of $10 per computer session (range 0–100).
Computerised self-help psychotherapies for OCD, phobic anxiety disorders and depression are becoming part of everyday clinical practice. This may be the first survey directly asking potential users about their preferred access to self-help psychotherapies for anxiety disorders. A significant proportion of responders did not wish to go via their GP to receive therapy and the vast majority welcomed therapy delivered by some form of computer system.
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