Depression treatment might be as easy as picking up the phone and talking to someone. According to a recent study, individuals suffering from depression may be more receptive to treatment over the phone than in a face-to-face, one-on-one session. In fact, reports suggest those who seek treatment through the telephone are more likely to stick with the therapy than those who venture out into the world.
Perhaps the biggest appeal of telephone therapy is the accessibility of the process. Instead of having to schedule your life around a trip to the therapist’s office, a patient can simply pick up the phone without having to add unwanted and unnecessarily stress to their daily routine. Additionally, the program could be beneficial to those who live in areas where help isn’t immediately available.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 20 percent of patients who participated in phone therapy eventually decided to bail on the program. On the other hand, those who chose to seek traditional in-person therapy had a 30 percent drop-out rate. Although this may sound like a breakthrough in treating depression, there are a few downsides to the process in the long run.
During the six-month follow-up, researchers discovered that those who attended face-to-face sessions had made more progress than those who were handling everything over-the-phone. It’s thought that the process of getting up, putting on clothes, and stepping out into fresh air may have therapeutic benefits.
“I think that’s a very encouraging finding,” said UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Behavior researcher Suzette Glasner-Edwards. “With mental health and substance abuse treatment, we see people who for various reasons are unable to comply with treatment, and that’s one of our major challenges.”