New research from the University of Manchester has revealed that smartphone apps can be used to significantly reduce anxiety. Joseph Firth led the project to analyse all published evidence on the effect of smartphone-based therapies on anxiety in 1,837 people.
The study, which has recently been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, is a collaboration between The University of Manchester, Harvard University, University of Melbourne and the Black Dog Institute in Australia. The project showed a significant reduction in anxiety through smartphone interventions and that digital therapies could prove most useful in augmenting face-to-face therapy and other psychological treatment.
The study highlighted the fact that mental health services are faced by the prevalence of anxiety disorders amongst young people.
“Smartphones could be a novel way to help treat anxiety: they are now owned by the majority of people, and are particularly popular with younger people. And that presents a new opportunity for psychological care provision in a non-stigmatizing, self-managing format."
Joseph Firth said: “Smartphones could be a novel way to help treat anxiety: they are now owned by the majority of people, and are particularly popular with younger people.
“And that presents a new opportunity for psychological care provision in a non-stigmatizing, self-managing format.
“Looking at individual studies we find that smartphone apps which aim to promote overall mental health and well-being, rather than focusing specifically on anxiety alone, may be most consistently effective.
“There is currently no evidence to suggest that using apps alone can outperform standard psychological therapies, or replace the use of anti-anxiety medications. This is an area for future research to explore.”
Further information on the study is available here.
The research team are studying the effects of using smartphone apps in the treatment of depression.