Can your computer prevent depression?

Can your computer prevent depression?

Treating depression can often be challenging and complex. That’s why new research out of Germany showing positive results in preventing depression is especially interesting.

The study, inspired by promising tests of web-based health interventions, consisted of a six-week online training course called GET.ON. It was designed to prevent depression in individuals who were identified to be at risk.

“With the prevalence of depression in our society, there are more innovative strategies and systems being developed every day to help people better manage symptoms,” says Dr. Kevin Krippner, an Advocate Medical Group psychologist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.

The research team divided the 406 study participants into two groups. One group had access to a training unit consisting of videos, texts and tasks lasting between 30 and 90 minutes each week. The other half was given standard written instructions on how to prevent depression. One year later, 41 percent of the control group had developed depression, while only 27 percent of the intervention group had.

“We were able to show with the study that GET.ON can reduce the risk of depression occurring effectively,” said Dr. David Ebert, Chair of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at FAU and study leader, in a news release. “GET.ON offers people with initial symptoms a highly effective but also flexible and low-cost way of successfully preventing the development of a depressive disorder that would require treatment.”

“Although a combination of therapy and medication has traditionally been shown to be the most effective method of reducing symptoms, treatment availability, cost, personal preference and other factors make alternative strategies more attractive to some,” adds Dr. Krippner.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In the U.S. alone, nearly 16 million adults live with major depression.

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About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.