Mood app may help in treatment of depression, anxiety

Smartphone apps can play a beneficial role in reducing negative moods in patients, and may present a new treatment strategy for those suffering from issues such as depression and anxiety.

A research trial of Catch It, a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) app developed by researchers at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, the University of Liverpool's Computer Services and the University of Manchester's School of Psychological Science, reveals apps also can expand availability of treatment, according to the study, published in the British Journal of Psych Open.

The six-week study found "statistically significant reductions" in negative mood intensity among 285 users.

"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," Professor Peter Kinderman, one of the report's authors, said in an announcement.

MoodTrek is another app developed to tack both moods and symptoms, data it then shares in real-time with psychiatrists and physicians. In addition, a St. Louis counseling center expanded its digital mental illness prevention and treatment toolkit through apps.

The CBT app study noted more research is necessary to determine differences between interventions on public mental health issues and apps tackling more specific behavioral issues.

For more information:
- read the announcement
- here's the study

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