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Depression Symptoms Improved with Online Therapy

Depression Symptoms Improved with Online Therapy

(epharmanews) – According to a new study from the Australian National University, online psychological therapy programs have an impact that is greater than the expected.

Researchers from the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research tested the effectiveness of online programs MoodGYM and BluePages with users of Lifeline’s telephone crisis line. They found that the positive influence of these online programs was not limited to depression; rather it affected a variety of problems.

Dr. Lou Farrer, from the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research, part of the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment said: “In addition to reducing depression symptoms, we found that the online programs were effective in reducing hazardous alcohol use in Lifeline callers. There was a significant drop in alcohol use among those who used MoodGYM and BluePages,”

“The results also showed that people who used the online programs had a marked increase in their quality of life, as measured by a scale that assessed satisfaction with different areas of daily living.

“We also found that after treatment, people’s knowledge of depression increased. This is essential to enable people to be able to better understand and recognise the signs and symptoms of future depressive episodes.”

Several earlier studies have showed that online programs were effective in reducing symptoms of depression. One of those studies was conducted by Dr. Farrer in 2011 which showed that the use of online programs for Lifeline callers was effective for the same purpose. Another study showed that the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy over the phone was almost similar to face-to-face therapy. However, this new study is the first to show the effectiveness of such therapies in improving other problems as well as the overall mental state of the participants.

“We worked with Lifeline centres in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Lifeline telephone crisis supporters identified callers who seemed to be experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. These people were then split into different groups who were asked to complete different programs using the online intervention tools MoodGYM and Blue Pages.” Said Farrer.

“We didn’t expect these results, as the programs are designed specifically to treat depression.  It’s exciting to see that by alleviating depression, these programs may also be helpful in improving how people function in their day-to-day lives,” she added.

“What we need now is funding to roll these programs out into Lifeline on a more permanent basis so that callers can benefit.”

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Prepared by: Laila Nour

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