Technology has the power to revolutionize mental health care. But it also brings new challenges that will require novel approaches and methods. Ultimately, the digital tools and promising techniques for mental health care must be more informed by clinical needs and preferences. This is the key to achieving its promise.
Computational Mood Alteration
As mental health becomes increasingly important in modern societies, technology plays a significant role in treating and caring for patients. This includes the ability to identify people who are in crisis and provide them with treatment on time.
Computational Mood Alteration is one of the most promising techniques for tackling mental health problems. This involves monitoring brain activity and, when it detects abnormalities in a person’s mood, triggering brain stimulation to help them return to a normal state.
This could be done in various ways, including surgically implanting electrodes in the brain to deliver pulses of electricity or putting magnetic fields on the scalp to influence brain activity.
While such methods could help people with severe mood disorders, they can also cause some harm. For example, they can increase a person’s dependency on the stimulus and could be a sign that they are at risk for addiction.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a proven treatment for depression that can produce clinical benefits without the side effects of antidepressants. It can also help prevent suicide.
TMS uses a coil to deliver brief, painless magnetic pulses that target a specific brain region. This stimulates the underlying neurones, leading to changes in brain activity that can last for weeks or even months after therapy is complete.
This technology is a safe, noninvasive alternative to conventional treatments for patients who have been unsuccessful in treating their depression with medication or talk therapy alone. A psychiatrist can administer it, and it is generally well tolerated.
TMS can be used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including major depressive disorder (MDD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The FDA has approved it for these disorders as a treatment option.
Mood Monitoring Devices
Mood tracking is one of the most popular ways people deal with mental health problems. These devices have the potential to detect a mental health reaction in seconds, which could help patients avoid dangerous reactions such as suicide or suicidal thoughts.
Despite the potential, however, devices like mood trackers need to be validated by scientific research before they can be considered effective mental health tools. And because they are not intended to replace traditional treatments, they should complement existing strategies such as therapy and medication.
Researchers have developed a wristband that uses a person’s skin to detect their emotional intensity. During a mood swing, the band changes colour heats up, squeezes or vibrates to tell the wearer he might be in the throes of depression or anxiety.
The wristbands are not yet patented, but the research is preliminary and some way off from being available to consumers. But the study suggests a new approach to helping individuals self-regulate their emotions and understand how they impact their lives.
Virtual Reality is a promising technology for mental health treatment. It can provide a safe, realistic environment to help patients overcome phobias and other psychological problems.
It can also be used to improve the diagnosis of mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists can use VR to test patients more realistically, providing better diagnostic results than interview-based methods.
For instance, researchers use VR to simulate a traumatic event for PTSD therapy. They have found that this method helps to ease traumatic memory.
It has also been used to treat depression, helping people to experience more enjoyment from life. Although it doesn’t necessarily solve the underlying causes of their depression, it is an important step in improving their quality of life.