About the projects
Here we collect short descriptions of our current research areas.
Depression is in of the most costly problem in our society and about every fifth women and every tenth man goes sometime through a depression episode. The research group works extensive with depression. Together with a research group in Amsterdam we implements systematic surveys how psychological treatments works. We have also developed a Internet based treatment for depression and are in the progress to develop treatment trough smart phone applications, funded by Vetenskapsrådet and EU:s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Tinnitus is the experience of sound without external influence like howling, ringing or humming sounds. Tinnitus is a common problem and 15 % of the about population has some form of tinnitus. For 2-3 % of the population tinnitus is a problem that goes together with problem with concentration, hearing difficulties, anxiety and depression. The research group has an extensive research on tinnitus with several employees in Sweden and internationally. We focus on epidemiology, psychological mechanisms, neuroanatomy and psychological treatment with CBT. We are the first in the world to try CBT via the Internet for tinnitus. Recently we researched acceptance oriented CBT and cognitive mechanisms of tinnitus. Parts of the research is conducted with Linnécentrum HEAD funded by Vetenskapsrådet.
Hyperacusis is a term that describes the sensitivity to everyday sounds. The problem is at least 6 % of the Swedish population and can be showed in avoidance and protecting themselves unnecessarily to everyday sounds. Hyperacusis should be distinguished from being sensitive to noise. The research group we have studied the prevalence of hyperacusis, developed treatment methods and investigated hyperacusis in the Williams syndrome. We collaboration with other tinnitus researchers and with researchers in England.
Hearing loss is a widespread problem that affects a large proportion of elderly in the community and also is common in younger groups. More than 17 % of the Swedish population over 16 years have hearing loss. Rehabilitation of hearing loss is an area that the research group has studied long (including Gerhard Andersson thesis “Hearing as behavios from 1995). We also have several areas we are studying the existing rehabilitation with hearing aid and educational counseling via the Internet. The research is conducted with HEAD and funded by FAS.
Dizziness and imbalance
Dizziness and imbalance occurs in a variety of medical contexts. It can be caused by abnormalities in the body balance, and the integration between vision and sensory. Symptoms may also be related to anxiety and neurological impairments. Dizziness and imbalance are very common among elderly. Research on balance and cognition has been studied by our research group and we have also examined the incidence of dizziness in the elderly. In addition, two randomized controlled trials published in which CBT and movement exercises tested against dizziness disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is a form of mental illness characterized by persistent anxiety. People with GAD worry usually perceived threats / problems with himself or close relatives, and as unrest triggers perceived it as very difficult to stop worrying. Common symptoms of anxiety include headaches, irritability, muscle aches, insomnia and even depression. So far, CBT for GAD is not as good outcomes as CBT, for example, social phobia or panic disorder, so research in this area is currently very focused on developing better treatments.
Researchers at Linköping University has studied the outcome of various treatments, how people with GAD think about the future, how common the syndrome is in society, how costly GAD and why people with GAD sometimes interrupt the treatment. The research is supported by FAS.
Panic disorder is characterized by sudden unexpected panic attacks with fear of new attacks or the consequences of the attacks. A proportion of patients also have agoraphobia. The prevalence of panic disorder is relatively low, with a 12-month prevalence in Sweden of 2.2%. In our research we have studied various aspects of panic disorder treatment, including through the Internet which has been described in theses by Per Carlbring (2004) and Jan Bergström (2010). We have also studied biblio therapy and the prevalence and diagnosis of panic disorder. Previously, research funded by, among other things Vårdalsstiftelsen.
Social phobia is the term for fear of ending up in the center of attention and usually starts in adolescence. Social phobia can lead to a life permeated by social avoidance and difficulties in meeting other people. The anxiety affects attention processes and impair the conduct in social situations. The presence varies, but at least one of ten in the Swedish population has clear symptoms suggestive of social phobia. The research team and its collaborators have conducted several studies of social phobia. We are the first in the world to develop Internet treatment for social phobia, and we also have done research on cognitive mechanisms. In research on social anxiety in children and adolescents we collaboration with researchers at Örebro University (Maria Tillfors) and Stockholm niversity(Eva Serlachius). The unit for Internet Psychiatry in Stockholm offers treatment through the Internet where our research group have helped to examine whether Internet treatment works just as well as group therapy. The research team is working closely with Professor Thomas Furmark in Uppsala University. Parts of our research is funded by FAS.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)
Experiencing traumatic events can lead to the development of so-called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and up to one-tenth of all people can at some point in their lives meet the criteria for PTSD. The diagnosis is characterized by intimidating and intrusive memories, evasions, and being easily upset when the thoughts of the trauma comes up. In our research we have conducted an Internet study on PTSD treatment, which showed good results. In other studies, we have in collaboration with researchers in Uppsala examined PTSD in relation to burn damages.
Specific phobia is characterized by intense fear and avoidance of objects such as spiders and snakes. You realize that fear is not really justified, but still feel anxiety about being confronted with what one is afraid of. In two small experimental studies, we examined the Internet treatment for snake and spider phobia. We compared with the most effective form of treatment - a one-session treatment with a therapist. The project was done in collaboration with Professor Lars-Göran Öst, Stockholm. The results showed that internet therapy worked but not as good as treatment with the therapist. This differs from other studies in which the Internet treatment worked as well as therapeutic treatment.
Eating disorders can be categorized into different types of bulimia, anorexia, and mixed forms. The prevalence of severe eating disorders like anorexia are low, but binge eating and bulimia are more common. In our group we have mainly studied the cognitive mechanisms in the eating disorder. A study of Internet mediated CBT in bulimia has been published and in Sweden there is ongoing research in which the Internet is used as a processing aid in the treatment of eating disorders.
Concerns about his health all naturally feel from time to time. But when anxiety is disproportionate to the risk of being or becoming ill and the fear persists even though there is no objective evidence of disease, one speaks of health anxiety. An example would be the constant worries about skin cancer, despite frequent visits to a doctor every time ensures that you are healthy. Common behaviors in health anxiety to seek assurances from others that you are healthy or to constantly examine yourself in order to detect symptoms. Other behaviors may be to avoid situations where there can be an increased risk of infection, such as public toilets or taking the bus in flu season. Health anxiety can be so debilitating that it may be difficult to work and live a normal life. In recent years, the research teams based at Karolinska Institute conducted two studies investigating the effect of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for health anxiety were examined. The results showed that CBT in groups and Internet Conveyed CBT can be an efficient and cost effective treatments for health anxiety
According to the Folkhälsoinstitutet /National Public Health Institute, which also funded the study, about one fiftieth Swedish personal gambling problems. Meanwhile, recent figures show that only one in ten people seeking help, despite significant suffering. One way to lower the threshold for daring to seek help is to offer distance treatment through the Internet. A previous pilot study tested an Internet program, based on motivational interviewing combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, along with therapist support. The results were good, but the study had certain limitations. The treatment has now been replicated in a much larger and more representative group. One approach to predict treatment outcomes based on eight background variables.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a so-called functional gastrointestinal disorder. It is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain in combination with constipation or diarrhea. Despite the difficult and life-restricting symptoms is the disease not an infection or inflammation but rather disturbed communication between the brain and digestive system. Karolinska Institute and Linköping University has a number of studies of Internet-mediated cognitive behavioral therapy in IBS made in recent years. The treatment is to teach patients to become less worried about their stomach and not letting it affect their lives. The treatment has given very good results and the majority of study participants have experienced that IBS symptoms are alleviated and the quality of life has been increased.
Burn damages may lead to emotional problems and the research has particular focused on post traumatic stress disorder. Nowadays it has a good chance to save people even with severe burns, but problems may persist. The research group has collaboration with a research group in Uppsala since the late 1990s and several studies of coping and burns damages have been conducted and published. We plan to study whether Internet reading can help people with burns. Research is supported by Vetenskapsrådet.
Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases and psychological problems can sometimes occur after cancer treatment. In the research group we have investigated what information is available online for women with breast cancer, autobiographical memory and cognitive problems. In a project funded by Cancerfonden, we have investigated the effect of tailored Internet treatment for women with treated breast cancer and persistent psychological disorders. The group has earlier examined the quality of life and tinnitus symptoms among people who had surgery for vestibular schwannom (akustikusneurionom) in collaboration with surgeons at Uppsala.
Pain is a widespread problem and leading cause of sick leave in Sweden. Chronic pain occurs in all ages and in different parts of the body. In our research we have over the years studied pain from different perspectives and we conducted one of the first controlled trials of Internet meditated CBT in pain. In addition, we study the treatment of pain in older people, acceptance-oriented CBT and cognitive mechanisms of pain. Research is conducted in collaboration with researchers at Uppsala University and with Professor Bjorn Gerdle at the unit for rehabilitation medicine and pain management and rehabilitation center in Linköping.
The research team was first in the world to treat headaches over the Internet. Headache affects many people (10% of men and 20% of women) right now, and if we go to the lifetime prevalence is very high (above 90%). It is therefore of great importance to consider the headache and cost of our research, we have been able to show that Internet treatment work. This finding has also been replicated by other researchers. Our research was funded by FAS.
Insomnia means that you have difficulty sleeping for more than a temporary nature and may include difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings during the night or the feeling of not being properly rested. Although sleep disorders are very common, it is a smaller proportion who have a diagnosis of insomnia (10%). Our research group conducted the first controlled study on insomni treatment via the Internet. We have also investigated and dealt with insomnia associated with tinnitus.
Problems with erection increases in frequency with age and despite medical treatment is tolerated, this is not always and not reimbursed by health insurance. For a number of men with erectile dysfunction are psychological problems involved. The research team conducted a controlled study of Internet treatment of erectile dysfunction, and also studied the health economic aspects.
Urinary incontinence is a very common problem in women. One in four women suffer from urinary leakage and one in ten has leakage at least once a week. From previous research studies, we know that two of the three improved or become completely well by a simple treatment with information, advice and various training programs. CBT in the form of Internet-based treatment programs have shown good efficacy in a variety of disorders. However, we do not know whether CBT has no effect on incontinence problems.
Last updated: 2011-03-25