Smartphone use found to not reduce rates of bipolar relapse in indviduals

by | Jan 3, 2023

According to a recent study, a smartphone-based self-management intervention for bipolar illness patients improved relational quality of life and decreased depressive symptoms but did not significantly shorten the time to relapse. About one in 25 Americans, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suffer from significant mental diseases such schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Researchers wanted to know if a smartphone-based self-management intervention could reduce the chance of relapse, alter the severity of symptoms, and enhance quality of life for people with bipolar disorder. The intervention utilized a coach, a website, and an app. Between March 20, 2017, and April 25, 2019, the researchers recruited individuals for a randomized clinical trial. The study had 205 participants who were randomly assigned. The study’s participant pool was varied. The participants’ median age was 42; 61% of them were female; 2% were Asian; 10% were Black; 6% were Hispanic or Latino; 3% were multiracial; 83% were White; and 1% were of unknown ethnicity. Researchers divided all patients into two groups: those receiving standard therapy (40%) and those receiving standard care plus the smartphone intervention (60 percent). Participants in the study completed daily and weekly app check-ins as well as a coach visit followed by six phone calls over the course of a 16-week period. The coach offered help, the website’s data supplied summary information and alerts, and the tool offered input on the creation of a customised wellness plan. The primary unit of measurement for the researchers was the time to relapse. Weeks to fresh bouts of depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed states were used to calculate the time to relapse. Other variables included symptom severity, quality of life, and percentage-time symptomatic, which was computed by dividing the number of days a participant was symptomatic by the total number of study days. Researchers discovered that the smartphone intervention did not lower the probability of relapse. However, compared to high-risk persons, the time to relapse was shorter for low-risk people. Regarding secondary measures, researchers found that the severity of manic symptoms was less severe in low-risk people. The smartphone intervention also reduced the severity of depressive symptoms and enhanced overall relational quality of life. The percentage-time symptomatic was not significantly decreased by the intervention, nevertheless. These findings led researchers to the conclusion that, despite certain advantages, the smartphone-based self-management intervention did not succeed in achieving its main objectives.

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