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IntelliCare App: Treatment To Reduce Anxiety And Depression Found In Smartphones

Update Date: Jan 10, 2017 09:10 AM EST

A group of mini-apps called IntelliCare can be installed in the smartphones to help reduce anxiety and depression. A study reveals that the app was able to decrease those conditions by 50 per cent.

The IntelliCare consists of 13 speedy mini-apps that offer exercises to diminish self-criticism, worrying and stress. It will also promote more positive feelings and even strategies for a good night's sleep.

"Daily Feat" app includes strategies in motivation and increasing self-worth of the user. "Purple Chill" offers different ways of meditations and calming exercises.  A self-help on techniques on how to reduce anxiety is in "Worry Knot," while "My Mantra" tailors phrases that will inspire. Other apps include "Boost Me," "Day to Day," "IntelliCare Hub," "Aspire,"  "Social Force," "iCope," "Thought Challenger," "Move Me" and "Slumber Time."

The app that promises to reduce anxiety and depression is simple to use. According to David Mohr from Norwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, IntelliCare app was designed to "fit easily into people's lives and could be used as simply as the apps used to find a restaurant or directions."

There were 105 participants enrolled but only 96 who completed the study. They were asked to use the IntelliCare app on their smartphones for up to four times a day for eight weeks. This means usage with an average of 195 times during the course of the study. Individuals who were prescribed with psychotherapy or antidepressant continued their regimen.

Initially, participants received a phone call as part of the eight-week coaching period. At least two text messages were sent to them during the observation period. They spent an average of one minute per app in the IntelliCare, but longer on those with relaxation videos.

Not all people suffering from anxiety and depression can go to a therapist's clinic. Mohr believed that the IntelliCare app plays a vital role as "using digital tools for mental health is emerging as an important part of our future." 

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