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4 innovative technologies ensuring real progress in mental health

11-24 | Rachael

4 innovative technologies ensuring real progress in mental health

Although there have been technological advancements in telemedicine and diagnostic equipment that measure physical health, the technologies for mental health have not quite kept up at the same pace. Mental health is a separate ball game altogether and its unique characteristics create hurdles in devising measurable outcomes by developing innovative technologies. Since mental health is largely subjective in nature, it differs from individual to individual. As a result, the symptoms of psychiatric disorders are not always measurable.

The social stigma surrounding mental health has opened up the market for technologies that are less frustrating and ensure more privacy by allowing patients to utilize the services in the comfort of their home. In recent years, there have been more companies investing in research and bringing out technological interventions that have the potential to change the way mental illness treatments are conducted. These technologies aim to promote mental health wellness by creatively providing solutions for the mental health issues and treatment. The four main technologies that made news in 2016 are as follows:

  • Pacifica: This is a mobile app that serves as a therapeutic tool for managing stress, anxiety and depression. Depression and anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders experienced by the Americans. Despite the above fact, proper treatment and care is not always easy to come by for mental disorders and is time-consuming and expensive at best.Pacifica applies the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation and wellness to interrupt unhealthy thought patterns. When a user logs into the app, it empowers him or her by providing innovative tips on relaxation and goal-setting to break the vicious cycle of thoughts-feelings-behaviors associated with it.
  • Pala-linq: It is a mobile app with wearable and web components that to provide support to the patients enrolled in a rehabilitation program for the treatment of alcohol and/or drug addiction. It helps in tracking the mind, body and spiritual activity level and keeps the users connected to their caretakers or support groups responsible for monitoring their progress and activities.In 2016, nearly 20.1 million Americans aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder due to the frequent and persistent use of alcohol or illicit drugs. Considering the close relationship between substance abuse and mental disorders, the technology of Pala-linq enables users to keep track of their recovery goals and prevent a relapse by promoting holistic recovery using the complementary technology.
  • Spire: It is a wearable device that can be clipped onto one’s undergarments or belt and can amazingly gauge a person’s mood by just measuring the wearer’s breathing patterns, emotions and other physical changes.Since changes in breathing pattern is regarded as the topmost indicator of one’s mindset, this device helps the user in keeping it under his or her  control. This gadget after identifying the corresponding emotion of the wearer alerts him or her by sending a notification to his or her phone. The notification contains suggestions and tips on relaxation and wellness that will uplift one’s mood. Many users have testified to its enormous benefits in reducing stress.
  • Fisher Wallace Stimulator: This is another breakthrough technology that has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia. When used for 20 minutes once or twice a day, the headband-like device gently stimulates the brain to produce stress-alleviating hormones like serotonin and dopamine. This reduces stress and increases the feeling of happiness. It needs to be placed over one’s temples and is extremely easy to use. However, its use is governed by the approval of a health care provider.

It can be used in the comfort of one’s home while engaging in a quiet activity, such as reading a book, using the computer or watching TV. To treat insomnia, patients need to use it just before bedtime for 20 minutes. The  symptoms of illness generally reduces within two to four weeks of daily use. A pilot study suggested that it may soon be used for treating bipolar depression.

Empowering mental health treatment through technology

Considering the challenges related to the effective recovery from mental disorders, such easy-to-use technological interventions are ready to turn people’s lives in the right direction. These technologies offer daily tools to overcome anxiety and stress. Rather than making false promises, they play a crucial role in breaking the cycle of negative thoughts.

If you or your loved one is suffering from the symptoms of depression, it is imperative to seek professional help. The Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado assists in accessing the best depression treatment centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online with our medical advisers to know more about the depression treatment in Colorado.

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