Talking to a psychotherapist for hours at a stretch or popping anti-depressants may not be a welcome idea for some young patients of depression. In such a scenario, scientists from the University of Auckland have developed a new e-therapy that may be as effective as personal therapies in treating depression.

A computer game called SPARX was created by the team to provide depression patients with a cost-effective way of treatment. Among the complete set of individuals suffering from this condition, half were exposed to standard therapies and the others played the new game.

Associate Professor Sally Merry, commented, “Using computer technology that young people are comfortable with is one way of making therapy more accessible, practical, and hopefully more fun. It has been designed to be easily accessed by young people directly or to be delivered easily in primary care settings.”

The new software follows the approach of cognitive behavioral therapies that have shown promise in treating many other conditions too. This game essentially revolves around 3D fantasy to aid the youth in understanding their mood swings and adapting to them. As opposed to other kinds of technological interventions, this avenue helps teens manage their attitudes via a virtual world involving action.

As the team puts it, this form of treatment is a playful way of dealing with depression rather than serious and extensive therapeutic alternatives. Moreover, this game can be incorporated easily in clinical settings. Though it did not show a better result than that seen in general treatments, this approach seemed to be equally effective.