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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, delivered as a Videogame, Can Help Lower Anxiety and Depression

Young Depres­sive Patients Respond To Com­puter Ther­apy (Med­ical News Today):

- “Depres­sion is com­mon in ado­les­cents, although many are reluc­tant to seek pro­fes­sional help. Accord­ing to a study pub­lished in BMJ, spe­cial­ized com­puter ther­apy is just as effec­tive as one-to-one ther­apy with a clin­i­cian for ado­les­cents suf­fer­ing from depres­sion.“
– “In order to deter­mine whether a new com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­apy inter­ven­tion called SPARX is as effec­tive at reduc­ing depres­sive symp­toms than usual care, researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land, New Zealand con­ducted a ran­dom­ized con­trolled trial involv­ing 187 ado­les­cents aged 12 to 19 years.“
– “The researchers found that SPARX reduced symp­toms of depres­sion and anx­i­ety by at least a third, mak­ing it just as effec­tive as usual care. Fur­ther­more, 31 (44%) out of the 69 par­tic­i­pants who com­pleted at least 4 home­work mod­ules in the SPARX group com­pletely recov­ered, com­pared with only 26% (19/83) assigned to usual care.”

Study: “The effec­tive­ness of SPARX, a com­put­erised self help inter­ven­tion for ado­les­cents seek­ing help for depres­sion: ran­domised con­trolled non-inferiority trial” (BMJ):

From the Abstract:

  • Out­comes: The pri­mary out­come was the change in score on the children’s depres­sion rat­ing scale-revised. Sec­ondary out­comes included response and remis­sion on the children’s depres­sion rat­ing scale-revised, change scores on the Reynolds ado­les­cent depres­sion scale-second edi­tion, the mood and feel­ings ques­tion­naire, the Kazdin hope­less­ness scale for chil­dren, the Spence children’s anx­i­ety scale, the pae­di­atric qual­ity of life enjoy­ment and sat­is­fac­tion ques­tion­naire, and over­all sat­is­fac­tion with treat­ment ratings.
  • Con­clu­sions: SPARX is a poten­tial alter­na­tive to usual care for ado­les­cents pre­sent­ing with depres­sive symp­toms in pri­mary care set­tings and could be used to address some of the unmet demand for treatment.

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