Effective home depression therapy
As a recent study reports, internet-based psychological therapy measures are a useful concept for the treatment of depression. The format is suitable even for those who show severe symptoms. According to the study authors, there is no patient group that cannot benefit from internet treatment. Elderly sufferers, patients with little education or even sufferers who suffer from very severe depression showed substantial improvements after internet therapy.
These are the results of a study by the research team around the psychologist Dr. David Ebert, who teaches clinical psychology and psychotherapy at the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU). In a meta-analysis, the team evaluated 24 clinical studies that included data from almost 5,000 patients. The researchers recently published their study results in the journal Clinical Psychology Review.
Frequent reservations about internet treatment
"The online treatment of mental illnesses is often met with reservations", the psychologists write in a press release on the study results. The greatest skepticism was with patients with severe depression. The common fear is that they are too severely restricted to use the Internet for themselves. The team of Dr. Ebert was able to refute these fears and determine the suitable target group for such treatments.
Depression patients benefit from internet treatment
The meta-analysis enabled the researchers to find out which patient groups benefit better or worse from the new internet treatment. The scientists were also able to identify factors that influence the effectiveness of such therapy. "The results of the study are clear," said the researchers. Internet therapies would indeed lead to clinically meaningful changes in depression patients.
Comparable effects with classic therapies
As the psychologists report, the likelihood of an improvement in the depressive symptoms is comparable to the classic therapy formats. Internet therapy can have the same positive effects as psychotherapy or medication with antidepressants.
"There was no patient group that did not benefit from Internet treatment," the study authors sum up. Elderly sufferers, those with little education or even patients with very severe depression would have shown substantial improvements. So you don't have to basically exclude them from treatment, the experts conclude.
There is one thing to consider
The researchers point out that the results have to be seen in the right context. "The patients examined actively opted for treatment through the Internet," the psychologists explain. The results of the study could therefore not be transferred to all patients, but only to those who consciously opt for such treatment. So anyone who is open to internet therapy can be helped extremely effectively, is the recommendation of the research team led by psychologist Dr. Ebert. (vb)