With the rising stress levels, unrealistic standards set up by the popular culture and the growing dependency on technology, more and more people are getting diagnosed with mental health problems. Ironically, this has also lead to self-guided Internet based platforms that aim at helping people fight depression.
However, in a sweeping new study by the psychologists at the Indiana University, these internet based therapy platforms have found to effectively reduce depression.Lead by clinical professor, Lorenzo Lorenzo-Luaces, the study reviewed 21 pre-existing studies with a total of 4,781 participants. To ensure accuracy, 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.
"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," Lorenzo-Luaces said. "To my surprise, that was not the case. The science suggests that these apps and platforms can help a large number of people."
With the rising number of individuals with mental health disorders, Lorenzo-Luaces thinks Internet based cognitive behavioural apps are pivotal for addressing the major public health issue that looms in front of us; that mental health disorder patients easily outnumber the mental health providers available to treat them.
However, Lorenzo-Luaces cautions that these internet apps cannot replace medication and one on one therapy. "People tend to do better when they have a little bit of guidance," he said. Nevertheless, apps may be beneficial for some people, thus freeing health care professionals, adds Lorenzo-Luaces.