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Internet therapy apps may reduce depression

ANI | Updated: Dec 12, 2018 14:29 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec 12 (ANI): In a new study, researchers have found that a series of self-guided, internet-based therapy platforms effectively reduce depression.
A research, led by a team at the Indiana University reviewed 21 pre-existing studies with a total of 4,781 participants.
The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
In the past several years, many internet-based apps and websites have made claims to treat depression. The subjects of the study were specifically those applications that provide treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing thought patterns and behavior to alleviate symptoms of depression and other mental disorders.
Previous studies had examined the effectiveness of individual Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy apps, or iCBT, using a range of methods.
"Before this study, I thought past studies were probably focused on people with very mild depression, those who did not have other mental health problems and were at low risk for suicide," said Lorenzo-Luaces, a researcher. "To my surprise, that was not the case. The science suggests that these apps and platforms can help a large number of people."
Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy apps are an important new tool for addressing a major public health issue: that individuals with mental health disorders like depression far outnumber the mental health providers available to treat them.
"Close to one in four people meet the criteria for major depressive disorder," he said. "If you include people with minor depression or who have been depressed for a week or a month with a few symptoms, the number grows, exceeding the number of psychologists who can serve them."
People with depression are also expensive for the health care system, he added.
By conducting a "meta-regression analysis" of 21 studies, researchers determined that internet-based therapy platforms effectively alleviate depression.
The conclusion was that the apps worked in cases of mild, moderate and severe depression.
App-based therapy also has an advantage in situations where access to face-to-face therapy is limited due to logistical barriers, such as long distances in rural areas or inflexible work schedules. (ANI)

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