Traditionally, treatment for mental health was comprised of cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, and medication. Today there are new and convenient ways to receive care for your mental health needs. Here are 5 ways technology is being used to treat mental health issues.
1. Smartphone Apps
There are thousands of smartphone apps geared toward specific mental health disorders. Most of them are free or reasonably priced. While the jury is still out regarding whether or not these methods are effective, mental health experts agree that apps provide affordable and innovative ways to provide mental healthcare. For people who would not normally seek out a psychologist for fear of stigma or lack of funds, these apps may prove to be especially useful.
2. Video and Text Counseling
Today psychiatrists have turned text messaging and video chatting into an affordable and convenient avenue for people to seek mental health help. More expensive than an app, but still not as pricey as a traditional office visit, video and text messaging therapy sessions have helped thousands of people get the help they need. For instance, it makes it possible for someone to get professional mental health help in Santa Barbara even though they live in Idaho or Wisconsin. Text messaging is unlimited, and you’ll always get a timely reply from a licensed therapist. Getting advice from a real mental health professional has never been this easy.
3. Virtual Reality Therapy
Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy is a method of using virtual reality technology to treat various mental health ailments such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and phobias. The virtual reality headset is used as a form of exposure therapy. It has been shown to be highly beneficial because it acts as a powerful source of personal reflection. It also assists in providing people with autism practice for when they encounter stressful social settings such as public speaking. Clinical trials to test the effectiveness of VR are still being done, but there is growing evidence that it is highly effective and therapeutically beneficial.
4. Video Games
While gaming has the capacity to become addictive, some people have used video games to heal from depression and suicidal thoughts. Dr. Michelle Colder Carras, a public health researcher, interviewed veterans who believe that gaming has alleviated their mental health issues. Video games act as a distraction from addictive behaviors like alcoholism or drug abuse. The type of game isn’t important. Being able to connect with a community of other gamers is what has been helpful in restoring their mental health. As gaming skills increased and relationships grew tighter, the veterans began to feel their advantages in life outweighed their problems.
5. Artificial Intelligence: Brain Implants
The US Military has been developing AI-controlled brain implants to treat mood disorders. These implants tune into a person’s feelings and behaviors to detect patterns associated with certain mood disorders. Tiny electrodes are implanted, giving researchers unprecedented access to the brain. The tiny sensors sendoff signals that can affect the patient’s mood at a given moment. Subjects have reported feeling calmer as a result of having the implants. The theory is that depression is an effect of diseased circuits within the brain rather than a product of the environment. Thus, balancing the right circuits within the brain restores mental health.
As technology advances, innovators are constantly creating ways for people to get the services they need. Finding mental health help is easier and more affordable than ever before. There’s no need to drive to your therapist’s office or rack up therapy bills. Today, help is just a click away.