Efficacy of iPads in reducing anxiety similar to that of analgesics: Study

Treatment procedures are changing, with traditional methods being replaced by those backed by technological advancements. In a study of its kind, researchers in France have come across a novel idea to reduce anxiety levels in children before surgery.

In the study, the scientists observed that allowing children to play games on tablets before a surgery helped in reducing their anxiety levels equivalent to the sedative effect of palliatives taken orally. The observation, put forth by the scientists at the 16th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in September 2016, was based on the examination of 115 children aged between four and 10, who were about to undergo surgical procedures.

The reduction in anxiety levels consequent to playing on tablets were contrasted to the impact of midazolam, an analgesic frequently prescribed to decrease anxiety levels before general anesthesia. The scientists divided their young patients, admitted at a hospital in Lyon, into two groups. While 55 children were administered 0.3 mg/kg of the analgesic either orally or rectally, 60 were allowed to play on a tablet for 20 minutes prior to the anesthesia.

An assessment of the anxiety levels of the children was done by two psychologists at key intervals during the hospital stay of the children. Psychologists evaluated the anxiety levels of both the groups during their arrival at the hospital with their parents, while being separated from their parents during admission, during introduction of anesthesia and in the post-anesthesia care unit.

Parental anxiety low for kids using tablets before surgery

The researchers observed that allowing the children to play their favorite games on tablets had the same level of impact as that of giving midazolam to help the patients relax. The level of satisfaction among parents concerned was found to be higher among those whose children were given tablets to play before being administered anesthesia.

Reiterating the same, lead researcher at the Hospices Civils de Lyon Dr. Dominique Chassard said, “Use of iPads or other tablet devices is a non-pharmacologic tool which can reduce perioperative stress without any sedative effect in pediatric ambulatory surgery.”

A detailed assessment of the anxiety levels of others revealed that nurses looking after the children playing with iPads were more satisfied than the rest. Elucidating the same, Chassard said that both the child and parental anxiety, prior to anesthesia, in both the groups of children were reduced to the same level before anesthesia, though the quality of administering anesthesia along with parental satisfaction level were found to be better in the group of children allowed to play with iPads.

The analysis was based on observations that indicated nearly 22 percent rise in nurse satisfaction and a 5.5 percent increase in parental satisfaction with the anesthesia process.

The study shows how technology can be used to diminish anxiety levels without the interference of any kind of pharmacological interventions. The findings are important as it sheds light on a new way to treat anxiety as opposed to traditional methods, such as sedatives.

Treating anxiety levels

The “fight or flight” reaction to any adverse situation is normal, but in most cases levels of anxiety increase to such an extent that people tend to panic over almost every situation. While the anxiety levels may become excessive in those suffering from anxiety disorders, the biggest problem such people face is in controlling their situations or living in constant fear of the unknown.

Stress can build up during any age or due to any factor. If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental disorder, contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline to gain access to the right kind of information needed for the treatment of various mental health illnesses. Call at the 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online for expert advice on various mental health services.