Internet Chat Rooms Help Prevent Relapse in Schizophrenia

Excerpted from Reuters Health Information 2002

BERLIN, Germany

Jun 13 - People leaving hospital after being treated for psychological illness in Germany are helping each other to avoid the "revolving door" of relapse and return to residential treatment--via an internet chat room.

Doctors involved in the project say the usual 30% readmission rate for patients during the critical first 3 months after hospital stay is practically eliminated for those taking part in the chat room. As part of a project that started in November 2001, around 100 patients use the chat rooms, which are sealed off from other Internet users. They are asked to complete detailed questionnaires about how they feel before and after the weekly 90-minute chat sessions. Information from the project is being evaluated on a long-term basis by the Psychotherapy Research Unit in Stuttgart, but initial results were released this week.




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