Computer, Smartphone-based Treatments Effective In Reducing Depression Symptoms, Study Finds

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Mental Health News – Study found that computer and smartphone-based treatments are extremely effective at reducing depression symptoms and also offer a promising alternative to address the increasing need for mental health support spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a new study, researchers at the American Psychological Association conducted a meta-analysis of 83 studies that examined digital applications for treating depression. These studies were randomized controlled trials involving more than 15,000 participants in total (80% adults and 69.5% women). Additionally, the participants were suffering from mild to moderate depression symptoms. The studies compared a digital intervention treatment to waitlist control or no treatment at all and treatment as usual or face-to-face psychotherapy.

The findings showed that digital intervention reduced depression symptoms over control conditions. However, the effect was not as strong as the one which was found in a similar meta-analysis of face-to-face psychotherapy. The researchers discovered that those digital treatments involving a human component were the most effective at reducing the symptoms of depression. A human component increased the likelihood that the participants would complete the full digital intervention and compliance with therapy is associated with better results, the research outcome explained.

“Overall, our findings from effectiveness studies suggest that digital interventions may have a valuable role to play as part of the treatment offering in routine care, especially when accompanied by some sort of human guidance,” said Isaac Moshe, lead author of the study.

However, he later mentioned that only about half of the total participants completed the full treatment and the number was only 25% in studies conducted in real-world health care settings, as compared to controlled laboratory experiments.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Moshe, I., Terhorst, Y., Philippi, P., Domhardt, M., Cuijpers, P., Cristea, I., Pulkki-Råback, L., Baumeister, H., & Sander, L. B. (2021). Digital interventions for the treatment of depression: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 147(8), 749-786. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000334

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