Outcome of cognitive-behavioural treatment for health anxiety (hypochondriasis) in a routine clinical setting
Wattar U., Sorensen P., Buemann I., Birket-Smith M., Salkovskis PM., Albertsen M., Strange S.
It has now been established in several randomized controlled trials that specialist cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for severe and persistent health anxiety (diagnostically, " Hypochondriasis"). It has not yet been established whether or not such results will generalize from academic research centres to routine clinical settings. The present study was designed to address the issue of generalization by evaluating the outcome of a consecutive series of patients meeting diagnostic criteria for hypochondriasis, treated using CBT in a non-academic clinic in Copenhagen, Denmark. The delivery of the treatment was adapted to fit with the practice of the clinic, so that the later components of therapy were delivered in a group therapy setting. Therapists participated in a brief training course, which was subsequently supplemented by expert clinical and peer supervision. Patients received the same amount of treatment used in previous clinical trials. Results indicate that the degree of improvement obtained in this study was significant and compared well with those obtained in the previous trials. These results support the use of dissemination of new treatments using a specialist training model. © 2005 British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies.