Online Depression Treatments Test Well
> 6/16/2009 9:15:13 PM

Evidence continues to build in support of the online mental health treatment model. In the wake of a recent small-scale study noting the success of web-based CBT treatments for insomnia comes an even more encouraging report stating that internet depression treatment may, at least in the short term, be just as effective as face-to-face therapy. Researchers voiced surprise over the results of a study in which self-reported satisfaction levels were just as high among online treatment subjects as they were among a control group undergoing more traditional therapy courses.
The Australian study behind the report followed the progress of 45 subjects who met diagnostic criteria for depression as they worked through an 8-week plan. This plan resembled a brief academic course in some ways, involving weekly online information sessions, video presentations and behavioral "homework" assignments. Subjects also interacted with other participants in a mental health web forum moderated by professionals in the field; these multimedia outlets served to familiarize subjects with the symptoms and behaviors associated with depression and suggest ways in which they could change their daily routines in order to minimize the severity of their conditions. The project occurred entirely online and subjects never entered an office, but it was not completely impersonal: subjects received an average of one email each week from a professional psychiatrist who served to monitor their status and offer treatment tips. This video, designed to explain the program to outsiders, is more than a bit rudimentary. But it points toward the future of co-operative treatment.

While the program may not seem like much, it greatly benefited the small study group; in an extensive post-treatment diagnostic survey 34% of subjects no longer met the requirements for depression. Even more encouragingly, 82% of participants reported being either mostly satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. The program cannot realistically satisfy the treatment needs of those suffering from severe chronic depression, but its materials seem to have worked quite well for most of these subjects. This study is not the first to examine the possibilities of the web-based treatment model, but it will certainly prompt debate and further research within the mental health community. In the meantime, those who dismiss the potential of online mental and behavioral health treatments may need to reconsider.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy