Analysis shows that online cognitive behavioral therapy reduces symptoms in cases of mild, moderate or severe depression
In a sweeping new study, Indiana University psychologists have found that a series of self-guided, internet-based therapy platforms effectively reduce depression.
The work, which reviewed 21 pre-existing studies with a total of 4,781 participants, was published in the November issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The study was led by Lorenzo Lorenzo-Luaces, an assistant professor of clinical psychology in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
In the past several years, many internet-based apps and websites have made claims to treat depression. The subjects of the IU 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.
Previous studies had examined the effectiveness of individual internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy apps, or iCBT, using a range of methods. Until this study, however, no review had examined whether the effects of these treatments were inflated by excluding patients with more severe depression or additional conditions such as anxiety or alcohol abuse.
“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.”
For Lorenzo-Luaces, internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy apps are an important new tool for addressing a major public health issue: that individuals with mental health disorders like depression far outnumber the mental health providers available to treat them.
“Close to one in four people meet the criteria for major depressive disorder,” he said. “If you include people with minor depression or who have been depressed for a week or a month with a few symptoms, the number grows, exceeding the number of psychologists who can serve them.”
People with depression are also expensive for the health care system, he added.
“They tend to visit primary-care physicians more often than others,” Lorenzo-Luaces said. “They have more medical problems, and their depression sometimes gets in the way of their taking their medication for other medical problems.”
By conducting a “meta-regression analysis” of 21 studies, Lorenzo-Luaces and collaborators decisively determined that internet-based therapy platforms effectively alleviate depression. A central question was determining whether previous studies distorted the strength of these systems’ effects by excluding people with severe depression.
The conclusion was that the apps worked in cases of mild, moderate and severe depression.
Many of the studies in the analysis compared use of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy apps to placement on a wait list for therapy or the use of a “fake app” that made weak recommendations to the user. In these cases, the iCBT apps worked significantly better.
“This is not to say that you should stop taking your medication and go to the nearest app store,” added Lorenzo-Luaces, who said both face-to-face therapy and antidepressants may still prove to be more effective than the iCBT apps alone.
“People tend to do better when they have a little bit of guidance,” he said. But he added that a 10- to 15-minute check-in may be sufficient for many people, freeing health care providers to see more patients.
App-based therapy also has an advantage in situations where access to face-to-face therapy is limited due to logistical barriers, such as long distances in rural areas or inflexible work schedules.
“ICBT apps take the methods we have learned and make them available to the many people who could benefit from them,” Lorenzo-Luaces said. “It’s an exciting development.”
The Latest on: Online cognitive behavioral therapy
via Google News
The Latest on: Online cognitive behavioral therapy
- A Mental Health Crisis Is Looming Amid COVID-19 — How Zappos Is Helping Employees Copeon June 23, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Employee health and wellness has never been more important. While the U.S. and the rest of the world face the coronavirus pandemic and its ripple effects, a mental health crisis could be on the ...
- Online Program Shown to Improve Insomnia, QOL in Adolescents and Young Adult Cancer Survivorson June 22, 2020 at 10:20 am
An online program designed specifically for adolescents and young adults who survived cancer was shown to significantly alleviate insomnia and improve overall quality of life, according to study ...
- Online program alleviates insomnia in AYA cancer survivors, study showson June 22, 2020 at 7:54 am
Adolescents and young adults (AYA) who have survived cancer often continue to suffer from insomnia long after treatment ends, interfering with a range of daily activities.
- Online program improves insomnia in adolescent and young adult cancer survivorson June 22, 2020 at 7:39 am
Adolescents and young adults (AYA) who have survived cancer often continue to suffer from insomnia long after treatment ends, interfering with a range of daily activities. In a study published today ...
- This digital therapy platform aims to help kids stuck at homeon June 16, 2020 at 6:10 am
School and camp closures have left children suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Brightline is here to help.
- Psychologist Dr. Abby Lev launches 7 Mental Health Questionnaires on CBT Online Teletherapy Platformon June 15, 2020 at 12:52 am
... recently launched "to provide millions with free and paid online teletherapy tools based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) so that no one is left feeling alone and without access to help ...
- Negative Thinking Tied to Cognitive Decline, Alzheimer's Pathologyon June 11, 2020 at 5:09 pm
Repetitive worry and rumination were associated with a decline in cognitive function and amyloid and tau deposition in a long-term study of cognitively healthy older adults.
- COVID-19 and hypochondria: Online therapy may help ease fearson May 19, 2020 at 9:51 am
it could offer much-needed reassurance to patients who may view online treatment as their safest option under the current circumstances. "We found that 'cognitive behavior therapy' (CBT)—which ...
- Online therapy may ease COVID-19 fears for people with hypochondriaon May 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm
While in-person talk therapy is the gold standard for helping hypochondria patients overcome a crippling fear of health threats, a new study suggests online therapy can be just as effective.
via Bing News