Apps effective depression treatment, analysis suggests

Apps effective depression treatment, analysis suggests

Can this accessible method help the millions of people around the world who are suffering from the disorder?

The World Health Organization declared this year that the leading cause of illness and disability globally is depression.

Researchers from Australia's National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) and not-for-profit mental health organisation The Black Dog Institute - with support from Harvard Medical School and the University of Manchester - reviewed 18 trials of 22 different smartphone-delivered mental health interventions. Overall smartphone apps significantly reduced people's depressive symptoms, suggesting these new digital therapies can be useful for managing the condition.

The Researchers from NICM of Australia, Harvard Medical School, Black Dog Institute and University of Manchester have examined almost 18 random trials that took a closer observation of 22 unique mental health treatments based on the smartphone with 3,414 people between the age-range of 18-59. The study involved 3,414 participants between the ages of 18-59 and suffered from some conditions such as bipolar disorder, insomnia, anxiety, major depression and mild depression.

"The majority of people in developed countries own smartphones, including younger people who are increasingly affected by depression", said Mr Firth.

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The result of the study clearly shows that smartphones are capable of helping people monitor, as well as understand and manage, their own mental health. Thanks to the rapid technological advances in the field, these devices could provide effective treatments for depression, so instantly accessible, and very efficient.

The effectiveness of smartphone apps as a tool to treat depression has been proven in an Australian-led study.

When it comes to the question of "Which app is best?" and "For who?", the results suggested these interventions so far may be most applicable to those with mild to moderate depression, as the benefits in major depression have not been widely studied as of yet.

Surprisingly, there is no significant difference between apps that apply principles of mindfulness and apps focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy, or the so-called mood monitoring programs. Whereas, the self-contained apps that did not depend on computer or clinical response were more beneficial than the non self-contained ones, stated Gulf Times.

Although there is now no evidence to suggest that using apps alone is more effective than standard psychological therapies, or that they reduce the need for antidepressant medications, the early results are promising. Although there are many medicines to combat it, researchers have found a new way to fight depression, which is through mobile phone apps. All of them examined the effects of Smartphone apps with depression patients.


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