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Technology based intervention in curing Mental Illness

One in four of us suffers from a Mental illness. This means that your friends, relatives & colleagues are suffering from mental illness that they are not aware of. 

Mental health care is still considered as a social stigma in developed and developing countries, leading to worse outcomes and complications in the masses.

Digital online and mobile applications are playing an important role in assessing information and services to enhance clinical management and early intervention through access to real-time data. 

Mental health professionals are in habit to give the face to face consultations to a patient and prescribe the treatment accordingly. With the mobile apps, patients can record their mood, behavior, and activities in real time. 

They can track their condition just using their mobile phone and share this information with the clinician.

Recent technological trends in the treatment-

1. Self-management app- You can manage your anxiety, stress and sleep problems by tracking heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing problems.

Apps can also improve cognitive and thinking skills in case of serious mental illness.

With skill training app, the user watches videos that can improve their thinking skills and can manage anxiety.

Sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones & cameras in mobile phones are used to collect the patient data that gives insight into patient’s behavior and activities. For example detecting changes in sleep and activity pattern, early warning signs of relapse or early intervention of bipolar disorder and depression can be diagnosed. 

Affective computing ( a branch of computer science) analyzes person’s mood, facial expression, speech rate, voice tone that can be helpful in detecting early signs of depression.

Virtual Reality (VR) - enables to simulate real world environment. Here, the patient is cut off from their surroundings. One such application in VR is the exposure therapy in which users are exposed to simulations that cause discomfort, to treat the phobias and post-traumatic stress. For example, people who are suffering from phobia from flying received flight simulations.

Technology has benefited both patients & clinicians. Here are the listed benefits of technology in order to improve or cure the mental illness-

1.   It has helped those who used to avoid the mental health care.

2.  The potential benefits include increased engagement in the care, earlier detection of the problems and treatment at the time.

3.    Treatment can be taken anytime anywhere 24*7, 365 days according to the requirement.

4.  The treatment is accessible even to remote areas in emergency conditions like natural calamity.

Advances in technology are playing an important role in curing or improving the mental illness but still, there is a scope of improvement.

I hope this piece of information have made you aware that how digital and online technology can be used to improve and cure the mental health.

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