Technology & Mental Health.
Today we are surrounded by technology in every part of our life. If you look around yourself, you will see the influence of technology in every part of your life. You are reading this on a screen, you buy stuff online and if you had the choice, you would probably use a Segue to move around. (Let’s hope that soon becomes a reality.).
Technology is all around us. There is stuff that we couldn’t have thought about doing previously but with the rapid advancements, nothing seems too far away. It is also important to be able to differentiate between the internet and other technology. Technology may include apps, social media, smart televisions, smart watches and the internet among other things. How then, does this technology impact our mental health? Does it degrade it or does it give us a platform to connect better with people who can help?
Technology is Not That Bad.
People often think that technology has given a platform to hatred and anger of people to be displayed as an equal and valid opinion. This is commonly thought of as a fact for social media websites like Twitter or Facebook. Technology, according to scientific studies, is not that bad.
The relation between social media use and depression is often quoted by people. Something that is always missing is that it is not clear whether the depression is a cause or effect of the social media use. Moreover, none of the people who participated had been diagnosed with depression. They had reported that they felt depressed but hadn’t actually been diagnosed.
Moreover, social media became a rage at a time when the diagnostic manual was being updated as well. This may have led to increased number of diagnoses which co-incided with the increased use of social media.
Meanwhile, somewhere Mark Zuckerbug must be taking a sigh of relief.
Apps to the rescue!
With the advent of apps for Android and Apple store, many institutes have come up with applications that would help with keeping track of daily moods and emotions. Even NIMHANS, the Indian Colossal, has made an app called “PUSH-D”. Apps that keep a check on daily activity and sleeping patterns can help fine tune the drug regime for a patient and could help doctors understand more.
fMRIs have been used to map images of the brain to understand and predict teenagers who are at risk for depression or bipolar disorder. The tech has had promising results so far. It is one of the most promising developments in the field of mental illness treatment.
Still in Infancy.
Technology as a means to help people with mental illnesses is still in its infancy. The apps and techs that have been developed don’t have certain and 100% success rate but the initial results are really promising. Technology has become a part of our daily life now and we are rightly called the ‘Age of Technology’. It is time we embrace the role technology could play in mental treatments as well.
Maybe, the segue will bring us out from the darkness and into the light.