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Mobile Platform Useful for Treating Depression, Anxiety

Engagement with apps high; effects sustained for two months

THURSDAY, May 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A coach-supported platform composed of a suite of apps is effective for treating depression and anxiety among primary care patients, according to a study published online May 20 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Andrea K. Graham, Ph.D., from the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues randomly assigned 146 adult primary care patients who screened positive for depression on the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 or anxiety on the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 to eight weeks of either a coach-supported mobile intervention platform (IntelliCare) or usual care.

The researchers found that a greater proportion of intervention participants achieved recovery from depression (59 versus 31 percent of wait-list control participants; odds ratio, 3.25) and anxiety (57 versus 38 percent; odds ratio, 2.17). During two months of follow-up, the effects were sustained for depression and anxiety. App use was high, with participants attending a median of 93 sessions for depression and 98 sessions for anxiety.

“Results support the efficacy of a platform approach to mobile intervention using apps designed to fit into the fabric of users’ lives for treating patients with depression and anxiety in primary care,” the authors write.

One author disclosed ownership interest in Adaptive Health, which has a license from Northwestern University to commercialize IntelliCare.

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