Study: online chatting is good for depression

Who knew that what sometimes seems like a waste of time could actually be a cure for depression?

A study conducted in England used instant messaging to chat one-to-one with a trained therapist. During the study, about 4 in 10 people who had online therapy improved to the point where they were no longer depressed. Only 2 in 10 people recovered with the usual care from a GP. The benefits of therapy lasted at least eight months.

One reason for the effectiveness may be that some people find it easier to write about their problems than talk about them. Also, unlike talk therapy, online chats can be saved on the computer, so patients can go back and reread their discussion with their therapist if they need to do so.

People seemed to get more benefit from chatting online with a therapist if they were more severely depressed to start with.

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