Apps Can Help People Deal With Depression And Anxiety, Study Says

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Apps Can Help People Deal With Depression And Anxiety, Study Says

By David Konow 01/11/17

The new wave of tools for battling depression and anxiety are only a download away. 

Image: 
Man using cellphone.

In recent years, a number of apps have been developed to help people with addiction. With some apps, you can download AA truisms, schedule your meetings, stay organized, and reach a counselor when you need one. Now, there’s a series of apps that help people deal with depression, and they’re getting strong results with patients.

According to Science Daily, in one research study, nearly a hundred people who used the apps found their anxiety and depression decreased by about 50%

The study, published in JMIR Publications, states that patients used 14 different apps downloaded from Google Play and were coached on how to use them by phone and follow-up texts. Some patients used the apps up to four times a day. In total, the patients surveyed used the apps an average of 195 times over a period of eight weeks.

By spending an average of one minute on each app, and longer periods of time on apps which had relaxation features, patients had lowered their depression and anxiety significantly. Some of the apps include My Mantra, where you can create your own mantras to push away depression; Slumber Time, which eases you into sleep when you need rest; and Purple Chill, from which you can download sounds that help you relax.

As lead author Professor David Mohr explains, “Some of the participants kept using them after the study because they felt that the apps helped them feel better.” Mohr added that “using digital tools for mental health is emerging as an important part of our future. These are designed to help the millions of people who want support but can’t get to a therapist’s office.” Mohr hopes that these apps will continue to develop and evolve with the help of the people using them, who are encouraged to give suggestions to the company. 

Science Daily also reported this month that video game technology is being used to treat depression as well, with good results. This new technology is called Project: EVO and is designed for phones and tablets, though it's not yet available to the public. HSNewsBeat reports that patients used the EVO video game for brief periods—20 minutes per session, five times a week—and it greatly improved their moods, much like the mobile apps. 

EVO was initially developed to help people with attention deficit disorder. While individuals using EVO have found improvement in their attention levels, they also showed improvement in their moods as well. As one neurological researcher says, “While EVO was not directly designed to treat depressive symptoms, we hypothesized that there may indeed be beneficial effects on these symptoms by improving cognitive issues with targeted treatment, and so far, the results are promising.”

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