Top of Mind Thursday – August 25, 2022: There’s an App for that!

I’ve seen a lot of ads lately for new apps that help treat depression, Leverage2Market Logoimprove your mental health, and prescribe you the medications you need to thrive (or treat sexual dysfunction).

Sounds terrific. Except when it doesn’t work, the consequences can be dire.

Take Cerebral, an app that offers “offers online psychiatric and therapeutic help for anxiety, depression, insomnia, ADHD & more…without leaving the comfort of your home.”

The problem is Cerebral has been prescribing controlled substances to thousands of people–through the app. What could possibly go wrong with that? Yep. The Dept. of Justice is investigating the company for incorrectly prescribing controlled substances and oversubscribing other medications.

Then there are the mental health apps that promise to offer you a cheap, easy way to get therapy without bothering to engage a therapist. Check the warning on these ads–they note that if you are suffering a serious mental health crisis, contact a professional.

Just like in any other field, there are therapists that are great, some that are mediocre, and some you want to avoid at all costs. But even those at the bottom of the list have professional training. They can refer you to other resources should you require additional help.

Apps to help you lose weight, exercise, learn a language, develop a new skill, etc. may all be helpful. But if they don’t work, you won’t find yourself in a serious health crisis or with a potential addiction problem.

Would you trust an app that tells you how to remove your own appendix? I didn’t think so. Let’s hope we don’t see an app for that in the future.

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