Washington D.C: There are several apps that claim to be able to help with depression and anxiety, but the question is: Do they actually provide an effective treatment?
A team of researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester has examined the initial trial of a smartphone application designed to help people manage their problems.
The 'Catch It' app uses some of the key principles of psychological approaches to mental health and well-being and specifically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), helping users better understand their moods through use of an ongoing diary.
The app, which takes users through a process referred to as "Catch it, Check it, Change it," aims to help the user identify thoughts and thinking styles associated with a shift in mood or a particular emotion.
Researcher Peter Kinderman said that 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.
He added, "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 concluded that smartphone apps have potential beneficial effects in mental health through the application of basic CBT principles. More research with randomised controlled trial designs should be conducted.
The study is published in the British Journal of Psych Open.