Washington: Scientists have found that a series of self-guided, internet-based therapy platforms effectively reduce depression. Researchers from Indiana University (IU) in the U.S. reviewed 21 pre-existing studies with a total of 4,781 participants.
In the past several years, many internet-based apps and websites have made claims to treat depression.
The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, focussed on those applications that provide treatment with cognitive behavioural therapy, which focuses on changing thought patterns and behaviour to alleviate symptoms of depression.
Previous studies had examined the effectiveness of individual internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy apps.
“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 Lorenzo-Luaces, a professor at IU.
“To my surprise, that was not the case. The science suggests that these apps can help a large number of people,” he said. These apps assume significance since individuals with mental health disorders far outnumber the mental health providers available to treat them.