Sunday August 19, 2018

Online therapy: Help people with mental disorders

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London: A new study has found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a talk therapy that is based on the Internet, may help individuals affected by mental disorder.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance. If left untreated, it can lead to hospitalisation, substance dependence and suicide.

The CBT programme is significantly helpful and improves BDD’s symptom severity, depression, and the quality of life, the study said.

The CBT therapy, which helps people manage their problems by changing the way one thinks and behaves, could be particularly useful in a stepped care approach, the findings showed.

The CBT programme, “has the potential to increase access to evidence-based psychiatric care for this mental disorder”, said the researchers from the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

Mild to moderately affected patients can be offered CBT programme by their general practitioner, or other health professionals, thus freeing resources for more severe and complex patients to be treated in specialised settings, the researchers noted in the study published in the journal BMJ.

The researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a therapist guided internet-based CBT programme for body dysmorphic disorder compared with online supportive therapy.

The study involved 94 adult patients with a diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder who randomly received either CBT programme or supportive therapy for 12 weeks.

None of the participants had any face-to-face contact with a therapist during treatment and both groups were followed for 3 months after the end of treatment.

Patients who underwent CBT programme showed significant improvements in their severity of symptoms, depression level, and the quality of life compared with those who had supportive therapy. These gains were maintained for at least three months after the end of treatment.

Participants in the supportive therapy group who crossed over to CBT programme after six months also improved their symptom scores.(IANS)(image: mental.disorder.net)

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How the Internet can help those who self-injure

The study, published in the journal Digital Health, suggested that those who engage in NSSI, the Internet can provide a less threatening and more anonymous information and support network, especially if individuals are not getting support elsewhere.

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The Internet can provide a less threatening and more anonymous information and support network, especially if individuals are not getting support elsewhere. Pixabay

Positive messaging through social media could be a powerful tool to help people overcome non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), a new study has found.

The study, published in the journal Digital Health, suggested that those who engage in NSSI, the Internet can provide a less threatening and more anonymous information and support network, especially if individuals are not getting support elsewhere.

“Self-injury, including cutting and burning, is a serious public health concern around the world,” said lead author Stephen Lewis, Professor at Canada’s University of Guelph.

The researchers also found that while it affects people of all ages, self-injury is more prevalent among people from 14 to 24. Within that age range, up to one in five have engaged in self-injury.

“We know that young people who struggle with self-injury often go online to obtain needed social support,” said Lewis, adding that the stigma surrounding self-injury contributes to a strong sense of isolation.

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Exposure to pessimistic comments about recovery did not increase participants’ sense of hopelessness. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers measured how online comments about self-injury affected the attitudes about recovery in people who have engaged in self-injury.

The team embedded fictional peer comments in a screenshot of an NSSI-themed YouTube video and assessed attitudes about NSSI recovery before and after positive and negative messaging.

While there is growing concern that accessing NSSI content online may hinder recovery, the researcher found that exposure to positive comments improved participants’ attitudes about recovery.

They also found that exposure to pessimistic comments about recovery did not increase participants’ sense of hopelessness.

“NSSI is a complex concern, but many who self-injure experience very painful, intense and difficult emotions that are perceived as extremely difficult to tolerate and control,” Lewis said.

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“To this end, we see that the most common reason given for self-injury is to get relief from these adverse experiences, even if for a moment,” Lewis noted. (IANS)