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Smartphone apps are very effective in treatment of depression.
Researchers have confirmed this in a finding which may pave the way for safe and accessible interventions for the millions of people with depression.
The results revealed smartphones open up non-stigmatising and self-managing avenues of care for the people with depression because smartphones can help them, monitor, understand and manage their own mental health.
Lead author Joseph Firth, postdoctoral research fellow at Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) said “the majority of people in developed countries own smartphones, including younger people who are increasingly affected by depression.”
“Smartphone devices may ultimately be capable of providing instantly accessible and highly effective treatments for depression, reducing the societal and economic burden of this condition worldwide,” he added.
Importantly, there was no difference found in apps which apply principles of mindfulness compared to cognitive behavioural therapy or mood monitoring programmes.
The researchers revealed in the paper published in the journal World Psychiatry that Apps which are used as an “integrative medicine” approach, can be particularly useful for improving mood and addressing symptoms in patients with a range of mental health symptoms and conditions including major depression, mild to moderate depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and insomnia.
Co-author identified as Jennifer Nicholas doctoral student at the Black Dog Institute, a Sydney based non-profit organisation emphasised that “given the multitude of apps available, many of which are unregulated – it’s cruci al that we now unlock which specific app attributes reap the greatest benefits, to help ensure that all apps available to people with depression are effective.”
The team systematically reviewed 18 randomised controlled trials for the study and this examined 22 different smartphones-delivered mental health interventions.
More than 3,400 male and female participants between the ages of 18-59 were involved in the studies.