Can You Treat Depression or Anxiety With a Smartphone App?

smartphone app treat depressionA partnership between researchers at the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester have allowed the researchers to perform a new smartphone app assessment for psychological issue management. Dubbed the Catch It app the application uses a number of key psychological principles along with cognitive behavioral therapy to improve mental health and well being. The goal of CBT is to change how people think and their behavior, allowing them to manage their psychological issues better. CBT is often used to treat anxiety and depression but it can be used for other mental health disorders as well and even some physical conditions. The smartphone app uses the approach “Catch it, Check it, Change it.” The researchers found that when the app was used it tended to be used more than just once, and the goal was to help users identify any thoughts or methods and styles of thinking which were associated with a specific emotion or a change in mood.

Professor Peter Kinderman was one of the researchers who examined whether the smartphone app could be used for treating anxiety or depression. According to Professor Kinderman “This type of therapy cannot remove problems, but it can help people deal with them in a more positive way. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. Our research examined the uptake and usage rates of this application, along with the faithfulness of user responses to CBT principles and their impact on reported negative and positive moods.” Kinderman also reported that “There were statistically significant reductions in negative mood intensity and increases in positive mood intensity. Smartphone apps have potential beneficial effects in mental health through the application of basic CBT principles. More research with randomized controlled trial designs should be conducted.”

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