Psychologists have found that Internet-based therapy can effectively reduce the symptoms of depression, which are traditionally treated by talking to a psychiatrist. According to an Independent journalist,
In a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the researchers examined the efficiency of applications and Internet platforms that provide cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on the Internet, which works by changing patterns of thinking and behavior to alleviate the effects of depression.
Although previous research had considered the effectiveness of online therapy, this review was the first to reveal benefits for people with severe depression.
"Prior to this study, I thought previous studies were focused on people with mild depression who had no other mental health problems and were less likely to commit suicide," said lead author Lorenzo Lorenzo Lotus of Indiana University.
Given the difficulty people face in accessing mental health care, the increase in Internet-based treatment can be revolutionary, he adds.
"If we collect the number of people with mild depression with people with severe depression for a week or a month, the number is growing, surpassing the number of psychiatrists who can help them," he said.
Professor Lorenzo-Loots conducted research by reviewing 21 existing studies to examine the effectiveness of Internet-based therapy.
"People tend to do the best they can when they have little guidance," Lorenzo-Lotus said. "This type of treatment can be helpful, especially in cases where face-to-face treatment is impossible for logistical or financial reasons.
Dr. Abigail San, a clinical psychologist, agrees on the benefit of Internet-based treatment for many people, but adds that the benefits of any type of treatment for depression often depend on individual needs.
Professor Lorenzo Lutz concluded that his findings showed that these platforms work well in mild, moderate and severe depression, but added that antidepressants and face-to-face therapy may prove to be more effective than applications and Internet platforms alone.
He described this type of therapy as a "dramatic development".