Web Therapy Helps With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Internet Behavioral Treatment Highly Effective for Teens With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
‘Web-Based Therapy More Accessible’
Questionnaires were used to measure improvements in fatigue and other aspects of patient well-being, and school records were reviewed to assess school attendance.
The answers revealed that at six months:
- Eighty-five percent of teens whose treatment was delivered online reported no longer having severe fatigue symptoms, compared to 27% of teens treated with usual care.
- Seventy-eight percent of the web-treated teens reported normal physical function at six months, compared to 20% of the teens treated with usual care.
- Seventy-five percent of the teens whose therapy was Internet-based were no longer missing school, compared to 16% of the others.
Web-based behavioral therapy may have important advantages over traditional therapy in situations where flexible treatment times are needed and when there are barriers to delivering face-to-face care.
“What is exciting about this trial is that these researchers have made the delivery of an effective treatment for CFS more convenient, more accessible, and possibly more cost-effective,” says longtime chronic fatigue researcher Peter D. White, MD, of St. Bartholomew’s and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
White tells WebMD that the greater accessibility and more frequent interaction with therapists may explain the better results for Internet-delivered treatment.
Patients sent their therapists an average of 66 emails over the course of treatment, and therapists sent an average 29 email “consults” per patient.
He adds that if greater accessibility improves outcomes, an Internet-based treatment strategy may be as effective in adults as it is in teens.
“It is important to repeat this study in adults,” he says.