Green light to the first digital therapy administered through smartphones and tablets to combat insomnia: how it works
Can't you get to sleep and herbal teas, pills and sheep counts can't help you fall into the arms of Morpheus? In the not too distant future, the answer to your problems may come from the smartphone. We are not kidding. These are the promises of "digital" therapy which has already been tested on humans.
Here's how it works
Digital therapy is thus defined because it is based on an original approach. In practice everything starts from an algorithm administered through a device, be it smartphone or tablet. And it is delivered in the future, perhaps, we will cure ourselves more and more through an App on the smartphone designed specifically for the pathological framework with which we have to deal or perhaps with a video game, or even with a virtual reality sensor.
Already today, however, this support is useful for remembering the regular intake of a cure for chronic diseases, avoiding to forget the therapy.
Digital therapy is often a system that delivers cognitive-behavioral therapy and is based on the existence of a close relationship between thoughts, emotions and behaviors and that provides the patient with the tools to manage emotions and modify negative beliefs and wrong perceptions Of the mind. It must therefore be indicated by the doctor, and this is certainly not a "game" to download, also because it can be an integration or even be complementary to the classic ways of administering treatments. Compared to the drug, digital therapy can represent an alternative, an addition or a combination.
Without forgetting that there may be algorithms that extend and enhance the functions of the drug and consequently its activity. there are those who wonder how much and how the human relationship and empathy with the care provider can "weigh", given that these approaches are currently used above all in paintings that impact the patient's emotional state. There is also the doubt of knowing how much it will be possible to "replace", even only partially, the human relationship to the therapeutic stimuli that come from a device. But the road seems marked.
In the USA it is reality
There are several treatments delivered through a device already available in the USA; after recording the scientific evidence of efficacy and tolerability of these treatments. To be registered and made available for a prescription, in fact, the treatments must be studied exactly like a drug. But the first clinical applications are already there.
Just think that in recent days the American regulatory body, the FDA, has given the green light to a video game that aims to improve attention in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is indicated for young patients between 8 and 12 years of age, as part of a combined treatment path. To give green light, the FDA examined data from a large amount of studies on about 600 children who underwent the Attention Change Test. No adverse reactions have been reported except for frustration, headache, nausea, aggression and various emotional reactions.
Returning to insomnia, some time ago the green light for the first digital therapy for the treatment of chronic forms in those over 22 years old. The device "releases" a personalized neuro-behavioral approach, based on cognitive behavioral therapy and on the guidelines of scientific societies.
The effectiveness of the cure is demonstrated by studies that appeared Jama Psychiatry and Lancet Psychiatry, which made it clear how this digital therapy approach has managed to improve not only the amount of time needed to fall asleep but also the risk of nighttime awakenings. If in the USA other digital therapies have had the go, indicated for example to treat some forms of addiction and even certain annoyances related to anticancer treatments, in Germany for years a computer program has been helping those suffering from depression, both alone and associated with the classic psychotherapy in the studio.