An extensive study by Indiana University researched the effectiveness of internet therapy apps and their ability to reduce symptoms of depression. The study included data from 4,781 people and 21 existing studies.
In recent years, many developers have claimed their internet-based apps can treat depression as they offer resources with cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a technique in psychotherapy that enables patients to change their thought patterns. By changing thought patterns, it can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression as well as symptoms of other mental disorders.
However, this study led by Lorenzo Lorenzo-Luaces at IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, is the first to review the effects of app-based treatments with patients with additional conditions such as anxiety. As well as this, the study includes reviewing patients with severe depression.
Based on the review of research, the study lead has found that app-based cognitive behavioural therapy apps can be an essential tool for treating people with mental health disorders as well as treating a major public health issue. Through conducting a meta-regression analysis of the data, the science suggests that apps can prove beneficial to a large number of people.
App-based systems can help to save healthcare systems a great deal of money. Typically, people with depression are considered expensive to health care systems as they have an increased number of visits to primary care physicians as well as having a tendency to have more medical problems alongside depression.
The study concludes by stating that the apps can work for patients with cases of severe, moderate and mild depression. However, patients receive better care with more guidance; the recommendation is to use iCBT apps alongside medication and face-to-face therapy. However, just a 15-minute consultation may be sufficient alongside iCBT apps which could free up health care providers saving money and allowing them to see more patients.
Apps can prove to be especially beneficial for those who have inflexible schedules or live in rural areas that suffer from logistical problems for face-to-face appointments.