AI Therapy Effective in Reducing Anxiety and Depression

A study conducted by researchers from Stanford University revealed that the use of AI therapy significantly reduced an individual’s depression and anxiety. The scientists focused on the AI-powered mobile application Youper for the said study.

The study, titled “Acceptability and Effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence Therapy for Anxiety and Depression (Youper): Longitudinal Observational Study” was published in JMIR. The authors of the study were Ashish Mehta, Andrea Nicole Niles, Jose Hamilton Vargas, Thiago Marafanon, Diego Dotta Couto, and James Jonathan Gross.

The team of researchers from Stanford focused on Youper, an artificial intelligence-powered telehealth platform designed to address the mental health of users. This mobile application reportedly helps users better process their emotions and mental wellbeing by talking it out with a chatbot.AI Therapy Reducing Anxiety and DepressionBased on its profile, Youper states that its system is powered by AI to “empower patients and augment the reach of mental health professionals.”

Besides providing users with an anxiety and depression assessment guided by AI, the app also comes with online medical visits, delivered medication, therapy exercises, symptom monitoring, and access to care counselors. It is considered the first telehealth platform where both artificial intelligence and healthcare professionals are working alongside each other, claimed Youper.

In its press release, Youper said that “This model of treatment uses AI to deliver just-in-time interventions to help users practice emotion regulation skills anytime and anywhere using their smartphones.”

The team of Stanford researchers analyzed a total of 4,500 mobile app users to gauge how the use of artificial intelligence in therapy reduced anxiety and depression, with the users being closely followed throughout four weeks.

However, in just the second week, researchers found that the level of anxiety that the app users experienced went down by as much as 24%, while their symptoms of depressions came down by 19%. According to the press release, these numbers were maintained throughout the succeeding weeks.

The study also notes that there was a “higher proportion of successful emotion regulation attempts significantly predicted greater anxiety and depression symptom reduction.”

In the press release, one of the researchers, as well as the founder and chief executive officer of Youper, Dr. Jose Hamilton, M.D., said that “the most recent study showing that Artificial Intelligence can be applied to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety led us to expand Youper to offer comprehensive and affordable mental health care by expanding with online doctor visits and medication delivery.”

As of writing, the Youper mobile app is available for download on the App Store for iOS users and Google Play Store for Android users.