anxiety rumination worry

Anxiety, Excessive Worry, and Rumination

Do you often find yourself caught up in a cycle of worrying and overthinking? Do your thoughts keep going around in circles, making it hard to focus on anything else? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with excessive worry and rumination, and it can take a toll on their mental well-being. But there’s hope: a recent study has shed light on effective ways to manage rumination and worries.

Online Self-Help for rumination

The study’s primary focus was to examine the effectiveness and acceptability of an online program, which was a CBT-based interention. The researchers wanted to see if this program could help reduce repetitive negative thinking, rumination, and worry, as well as symptoms of depression, anxiety, and general psychological distress. What makes this study particularly interesting is that it compared two delivery formats of the program: online self-help and clinician-assisted treatment.

Program structure

The online brief program had three stages:

Stage 1

  • Psychoeducation about rumination and worry
  • Self-monitoring
  • Activity Planning

Stage 2

  • Three Rules of Thumb to differentiate helpful and unhelpful rumination and worry
  • Structured Problem Solving
  • Worry Time
  • Disengaging from rumination/worry and Shifting Attention onto present moment

Stage 3

  • Managing Rumination and Worry at Night
  • Shifting from General into Specific Thinking
  • Summary of program content

Promising Results and Sustained Benefits

The results of the study were promising. Both groups that received the intervention (online self-help and clinician-assisted) showed significant reductions in repetitive negative thinking, rumination, and worry. The positive effects of the program were sustained even after three months. Additionally, both groups experienced improvements in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and general psychological distress. By the end of the treatment, the mean scores for depression and anxiety in both groups were below the clinical threshold for major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Overcoming Barriers with Online Delivery

One notable aspect of the study was the online delivery of the intervention, which allowed for greater accessibility to mental health treatment. This means that the program can reach a larger number of people, including those living in remote areas with limited access to specialized services. 

Furthermore, the self-help format could be used as an initial step in a stepped-care model of treatment. Clinician support could be added if users experience disengagement or symptom deterioration. Additionally, clinicians could integrate this intervention into their practice alongside existing treatments for anxiety and depression.

Comparing Self-Help and Clinician-Assisted Groups

The study also compared the outcomes of online self-help and clinician-assisted groups. Both groups showed similar adherence, completion rates, engagement, and treatment satisfaction. However, the clinician-assisted group appeared to have slightly better outcomes on some measures, possibly due to factors like therapeutic alliance and additional support in problem-solving the implementation of skills.

In summary, both groups showed significant improvements in levels of rumination, worry, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and general psychological distress, with the clinician-guided group outperforming the self-help group.

If you find yourself constantly worrying and ruminating, online resources might help! However, seeking support from a mental health professional, if needed, will likely give you better outcomes. With the right tools and support, you can learn to manage your worry and rumination and lead a more fulfilling life.

Please note that this blog post by Personal Psychology is not intended to provide professional advice. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health difficulties, it is important to seek help from a qualified healthcare professional.