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Teens Turns to Internet for Depression Self-Help

by | Conditions and Disorders, Latest News, Life, Recovery, Treatment

Home Conditions and Disorders Teens Turns to Internet for Depression Self-Help

Depressed woman lying in the middle of roadLately there have been discussions about whether or not WebMD is becoming a replacement for actual visits to the doctor’s office. There’s been a buzz and controversy over whether teenagers and young adults, are putting too much stock in Internet self-help sites.
There is no concrete way to tell exactly how many people are seeking treatment from their primary care physician before self-diagnosing. In some cases of physical ailments, people may diagnose themselves incorrectly and set themselves up for potentially dangerous, life-threatening consequences. However in the case of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and general mood disorders, the Internet as a resource is starting to be seen as more positive than negative. Part of this theory is derived from a recent study conducted in Australia. Researchers followed young people and teens experiencing mood changes and symptoms of depression over a period of several months. They discovered that the majority of people who sought treatment for depression and/or anxiety online were able to find services in their area for further treatment such as cognitive therapy and/or depression support groups. Dr. Campbell, study leader from the University of Sydney, Australia, declares “the independent and combined effectiveness of online mental health help-tools being accessed by adolescents such as MoodGym, with education websites such as BeyondBlue, or online support groups such as Mood Garden had not been investigated in combination with face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapy.” This is a significant component of the study that was bypassed as a result of confidentiality restrictions, limited participation, and geographical specificity.
Overall, the more interactive the website — the more likely the person is going to reap the benefits. Traditional text-based articles on depression have historically been very fact-based and monotonous in nature — almost depressing to read in and of themselves. Thankfully, innovative website designers are realizing that interactive tools, tips and games not only grab the person’s attention but are successful in helping them learn how to treat mild depression on their own accord and where to look for help. As long as the site is designed with the goal of increasing awareness and knowledge of clinical depression and mood disorders, they are generally effective at reaching their target audience and keeping them engaged.
Since research on the effects of online self-help alone is widely undetermined, “The combination of MoodGym with traditional face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy even more effective that just using MoodGym by itself. As such, our research concluded that for adolescents, the best form of depression treatment is a combination of online self-help tools used in conjunction with offline counseling,” says Dr. Campbell.
I think Dr. Campbell has illustrated a point I would have assumed on my own without reading the article, that the best approach is to combine both online self-help assessments and tools with face-to-face cognitive therapy. Also, cases of depression range vastly from severe clinical depression to mild depression in teens that can often dissipate by taking proactive measures to streamline positive energy into one’s life, thus dissipating by their early 20’s. Each person should be assessed on an individual basis. There is no one “correct” route to travel in the quest to alleviate depression’s heavy affects. The vast physical aches and pains such as the sensation of a heavy weight pushing on one’s chest and headaches, in addition to the sadness, loss of interest, apathy, change in appetite, and feelings of hopelessness, can often feel overwhelming. On the continuum of depression, more severe cases with acute symptoms may require immediate medical or professional assistance. I just think young adults who have tried resolving their depression on their own with little success should go right to the source – seek professional help. Be wary of the content on certain sites and check to make sure they are verifiable – .org sites are often a safer bet than .com. Internet tools are undoubtedly a great resource, as long as each person validates their feelings realistically and validates their psychological woes and needs.