Happify says study backs value of its wellbeing app in psoriasis

by Stephen Riddle

People with psoriasis who used an app developed by digital health company Happify reported reduced anxiety and improvements in mental wellbeing in a real-world study involving more than two hundred subjects.

It’s well recognised that people with psoriasis can develop depression or anxiety, particularly in moderate or severe cases where a sizeable part of the body can have skin lesions. Around a third of people with psoriasis report mild anxiety, while one in five say they have moderate anxiety.

Happify’s eponymous app is designed to reduce stress, stave off negative thoughts and build greater resilience cognitive behavioural therapy, positive psychology and mindfulness techniques.

The study included 219 people with self-reported psoriasis who completed 16 or more of the activities within the app , and showed a 27% improvement in subjective wellbeing, with anxiety symptoms reduced by the same margin, according to Happify.

Those who completed fewer activities saw a much smaller improvement, with wellbeing rising 4% and anxiety scores declining 8%. The results have not been published in a peer-review journal but are available online.

“Psoriasis may be a physical condition, but because scaling is so apparent, and the perceived stigma often leads to feelings of embarrassment, shame, low self-esteem, and self-consciousness, it’s no surprise that people experience anxiety and impaired well-being,” said the company’s chief medical officer Murray Zucker.

“This new analysis is important because it suggests that digital interventions like Happify Health can have a significant – and positive impact – on those suffering with psoriasis and should be a part of any psoriasis care plan.”

The app – which provides some content for free and can be unlocked completely with a monthly subscription – has more than half a million downloads on Google’s Play store and is also available on Apple devices and PCs.

Happify is also working on new digital health tools for psoriasis, and last year partnered with pharma company Almirall to develop an app called Claro as a digital therapeutic that can be used alongside drug therapies for psoriasis.

It also teamed up with the American Heart Association (AHA) in 2020 to develop an app that aims to reduce stress and encourage healthy behaviour in people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

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