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Is a Mobile app as good as a therapist? 


Is a Mobile app as good as a therapist?
Is a Mobile app as good as a therapist?

This post was most recently updated on August 2nd, 2022

Introduction:

The stress of the pandemic has changed your routine, and you struggle to balance your remote work, childcare duties, and household management. You tried to reach out to a therapist, but after an extensive search online. Is a Mobile app as good as a therapist Our mood has been low, you’ve lost your appetite, and you can’t sleep well & family is concerned because you are no longer interested in cooking or reading, activities? 

Picture from Google
Picture from Google

Mobile therapy apps – do they work? 

Mental health apps claim to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses without therapy appointments. There’s no wait time involved, and every person with a smartphone has immediate access. In addition to their convenience, many apps are free. If this sounds too good to be true, you may be right. 

Research looking at randomized controlled trials of mobile app mental health interventions with almost 50,000 patients did not find “convincing evidence” that any mobile app intervention greatly improved outcomes related to people’s anxiety, depression, smoking or drinking, thoughts of suicide, or feelings of well-being.  

While this sounds unfortunate, this may be related to the study methods in which researchers grouped interventions together that may be completely different. A small trial with a positive effect could thus appear unhelpful if its effects are combined with less helpful interventions. 

Picture from Google
Picture from Google

What can we make of these results? 

Research on the mental health effects of mobile apps is still in its infancy. Low-touch interventions like mobile apps may help get you through a rough time, or at least help increase your symptom awareness. 

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Exploration of the internal health goods of mobile apps is still in its immaturity, and we will have further to guide us in the coming many times. Low-touch interventions like mobile apps may help get you through a rough time, or at least help increase your symptom mindfulness. 

Mobile apps can complement therapy:

When looking at the many types of psychotherapy available, interestingly, they all result in a similar amount of symptom improvement. The strongest factor in helping patients make progress is actually the relationship with the therapist. 

 Having a secure place to speak about your stressors, seeing your concerns validated in the eyes of another person, and developing a trusting relationship are all components of therapy. A mobile app removes the human element of a therapeutic relationship, which we know is a critical ingredient in treatment success. 

 However, mobile apps can complement therapy through symptom trackers, reminders, reinforcement of skills, and community features to set goals and share progress. 

Picture from Google  |  Is a Mobile app as good as a therapis
Picture from Google

When mobile apps are not enough: 

Although mobile apps may seem harmless, there are a couple of reasons you may want to look into a specific app or hold off altogether. The first is privacy concerns: many apps are not transparent about their security features, and less than half of mobile apps for depression have a privacy policy.  

The second is a delay in treatment. Although mobile apps are becoming more promising and data-driven, they cannot replace a trained mental health clinician at this time. If you are suffering from severe symptoms, you will likely need more than a mobile app can provide you: a correct diagnosis, a human relationship, and an individualized discussion about your treatment options. 

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Picture from Google
Picture from Google

How do you choose a good mobile app?

With thousands of internal health apps available online, chancing one that works for you may take some trial and error. I recommend the following apps grounded on their substantiation base, usability, security features, and my clinical experience.
For awareness Calm

  •  For wakefulness CBT-i Coach
  •  For post-traumatic stress complaints PTSD Coach
  •  For stress-related to COVID COVID Coach
  •  For learning torture forbearance chops DBT Coach
  •  For managing your mood and anxiety CBT Thought Diary
  •  For covering your mood/ memory and keeping your mind sharp THINC-it.

FAQs about Is a Mobile app as good as a therapist:

What makes a mobile application good?

A successful app combines three aspects in a smart way: market, user, and the product itself. All these factors need to work together to give users a unique value, great usability, and good performance. Accessibility is the last but not least key feature of a successful mobile app.

Can an app help with mental health?

A mood tracking app can let you input your emotions, thoughts, and other events that happen in your life to help identify patterns in your mood and overall well-being. A therapy app, such as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy app, can help you deal with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.

Why are therapy apps good?

For example, our team explored how therapy apps could be used to offer extra support to those already in care. The apps people found most useful were not the most complex or fancy, but rather they were practical and easy to use. These apps helped people learn new skills and share their lived experiences with others.

Is a mobile app as good as a therapist?

Research looking at randomized controlled trials of mobile app mental health interventions with almost 50,000 patients did not find “convincing evidence” that any mobile app intervention greatly improved outcomes related to people’s anxiety, depression, smoking or drinking, thoughts of suicide, or feelings of well.

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What is the best therapist app?

One of the most well-known therapy apps, TalkSpace, matches you with a therapist. You can send text messages, audio, picture, and video messages at any time of the day or week. Your therapist will respond daily, five days a week. You also have the option to have live video sessions with your therapist.

Are mental health apps evidence-based?

Research-informed mental health apps are backed by scientific research, making them a quality option for your mental health journey. They can be a good tool to add to existing therapy or medication treatment.

Are anxiety apps Helpful?

Depending on how often you use your apps of choice, they can be highly effective in helping to lower feelings of anxiety, stress, and panic. Many of these apps use evidence-based techniques of mindfulness and grounding.

How do mental health apps work?

App-based features that enable users to self-monitor their mood by periodically reporting their thoughts, behaviors, and actions can increase emotional self-awareness (ESA), which has been found to be implicated in anxiety, depression, and substance abuse (14).

Conclusion:

Mobile apps have significant potential to deliver high-efficacy mental health interventions. Given the global shortage of psychiatrists and the lack of mental health care access in rural regions, apps have emerged as a viable tool to bridge the mental health treatment gap. Technology is well-poised to transform how mental health treatment is delivered and accessed, but this transformation requires the combined mobilization of science, regulation, and design.


Scoopearth Team

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