Currently submitted to: JMIR Mental Health
Date Submitted: Jun 19, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jun 20, 2019 - Aug 15, 2019
(currently open for review)
Smartphone-based interventions in German language in affective disorders – a review about currently available products
Currently, numerous new products such as applications (apps) for smartphones are being marketed in the electronic (e)-health sector. Mood-graphs, diagnostic questions, mindfulness exercises and chat-therapy affect psychiatric treatment of affective disorders (ADs) positively. The products are easily available and allow for little control over efficacy and adverse effects.
A systemic review was performed in order to examine the currently available apps that advertise for supporting people with AD and anxiety disorders.
The keywords “psychiatry”, “depression”, “bipolar”, “anxiety”, “mood” in German language were entered in Google Play Store and IOS iTunes and all available products were examined. Furthermore, the current research on these apps should be listed transparently at clinicaltrials.com and PubMed.
Depending on keywords and app store, respectively, 98 to 250 products were spotted. 56 of the apps were included in this paper as they are related to AD. However, only nine of them are supported by scientific research or federal authorities. Five products are currently study subjects in clinical trials, but no publication was available at the time of research. Moreover, five publications of study protocols of other German-language apps, as well as five publications about evaluated products in PubMed were found.
Diverse free apps with potentially favorable effects on mood stabilization are available for people suffering from ADs. As currently only a very small number of them have been scientifically evaluated, there is an urgent need for research in the mobile e-health sector. In addition, physicians and psychotherapists should talk to their patients about the advantages and disadvantages of apps and inform them about the lack of evidence.
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