Those who have experienced General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) will know that it has the ability to affect every part of their life. From relationships, to work productivity, to physical health, GAD can quickly become very difficult to control.
GAD is characterized by excessive and persistent worry over events and activities, and it’s often a chronic, relapsing condition. But despite being one of the most common anxiety disorders, only a small percentage of people who experience it seek treatment. This is not too surprising, given that approximately 70% of people with anxiety disorders go untreated every year.
At MindBeacon, we’re helping to change this by giving people more options when it comes to accessing treatment. Our Therapist Guided Programs use Therapist-assisted internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TAiCBT), a method that consists of easy-to-access online modules. This format reduces many of the common barriers to treatment, including costs, stigma, geography, scheduling and waiting lists.
While face-to-face Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and medication have been the standard treatments for cases of more severe generalized anxiety, we are now seeing evidence that TAiCBT is just as effective. To further support this, we conducted a trial to research TAiCBT’s impact in real-world settings.
230 individuals tracked changes in their anxiety by using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, commonly referred to as the GAD-7. This assessment is widely recognized as a reliable measure of symptom severity. Scores of 5, 10 and 15 are the cut-off points for mild, moderate and severe anxiety, respectively. Each of our participants had a score of 8 or more at the beginning, with 174 of them having a score of 10 or more.
Our program consisted of online modules that were delivered approximately once a week over 8 to 12 weeks. These modules included access to educational materials, dynamic exercises and interactive worksheets. Each participant was also paired with their own individual therapist, who they were able to contact at any time. This form of open communication can have enormous benefits for someone who is used to traditional ‘once-a-week’ care.
At the end of each week, all participants completed another GAD-7 assessment, which helped us track changes in their anxiety symptoms. When we looked at these results at the end of the trial, we found impressive improvements across the board, but particularly with participants who showed significant symptoms of anxiety.
On average, about 63% of the people who had scored 10 or over on the initial GAD-7 assessment reported clinically significant improvement, and just under half experienced a 50% or more reduction in symptoms. This further supports the conclusion that MindBeacon’s Therapist Guided Program is helpful for people struggling with GAD, including more severe symptoms.
MindBeacon’s main goal with this program was to increase our participants’ tolerance for uncertainty and help them learn that their anxiety is not debilitating, but manageable and something that will recede over time. We were able to see significant proof that these online modules are helping make that a reality.
If you’re struggling with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, MindBeacon’s Therapist Guided Program can help teach you how to manage your symptoms. Fortunately, the program is also covered by many employee benefit plans across Canada. If you are a resident of Ontario, the government of Ontario has funded the Therapist Guided Program as well which means it's free for you to use.
If you're ready to get started with therapy and would like to complete your assessment, visit ushere.
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