According to the World Health Organization, about 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression and other mental disorders. Modern technologies can not replace conventional medicine, but they can facilitate such people’s lives.
How gadgets help keep track of emotions
There are some gadgets that simplify the lives of patients. Sometimes treatment is not moving forward, just because the patient forgets to take his prescribed medication. In the world of Internet already exist pillboxes, which check if the patient has taken the medicine, and warn the doctor and relatives about it.
Trekking technologies are actively developing: if the chip by Nike we can measure the pulse while running, the bracelet by Phyode evaluates emotional state. It monitors the autonomic nervous system and helps to improve its work with the help of breathing exercises he teaches the patient.
Basing on the data fixed and combined with calendar by the bracelet, it helps the patient to identify which period was the most stressful.
An ordinary smartphone can provide you with motivation, if you install, for example, the application Mobilyze! – It monitors the level of physical activity (that causes production of serotonin). The app analyzes the user’s location and how likely it is that he is now talking with friends. If it notices that you have not left the house for a long time, it will remind that it’s time to take a stroll.
How games help those who suffer from
For several years, the industry of serious games develops : with the help of computer games they teach serious things – for example, audit, anatomy and proper nutrition. Games help easier to get the information because of interactivity and visual diversity. In 2009, a British laboratory Pervasive Technology Lab decided to create a computer game to help people suffering from depression. This game has to teach patients to make the right decisions in stressful situations. Naturally, the game can not replace the trip to the doctor and therapy session, but it can be used as an auxiliary tool.
The market has several computer games for treating the depression. A Kotaku columnist Phil Owen has been diagnosed with depression for a long time, and he published a rather personal review. For those who do not suffer from depression, but steel want to learn more about this disease, Owen advised released in 2013 Depression Quest. But those who are prone to depression, the columnist offers the Inner View – in this game you need to speak with the characters that are on the verge of suicide. And because it is easier to help others than ourselves, awareness of own benefit may embolden those who feels bad.
Crisis help via SMS
Stephanie Shea worked for the non-profit organization DoSomething.org in New York. She told teenagers about volunteer programs. Every day, Shea made SMS-mailing about a charity marathon, visits to nursing homes and garbage utilization. One day, in response to a message she received shocking SMS: «He raped me. Again.” And a few hours later from the same caller, “Are you here?”. Shea printed all the massages, and went to the director of the DoSomething Nancy Lublin. Then they decided to create the first text crisis hotline Crisis Text Line, where you can get help at any time.
For those who do not belong to the digital generation, it may seem strange to trust your biggest secret to a text editor. But digital natives naturally communicate in this way – an average teenager sends about 2,000 messages per month. In addition, the writing of the text has a therapeutic effect: between a person and his or her feelings appears a distance. As a rule, the conversation lasts about an hour – and longer if there is a risk of suicide (in this case, the data can be sent to the police, and according to the latest statistics, every day at least one brigade leaves for help).
The peak of depression as a rule is at 8:00 p.m, panic attacks are hardest an hour before midnight, and suicidal thoughts often arise at 4:00 am
Crisis text line not only helps young people in trouble, but also collects data. Now on the basis of these data and lexical analysis of messages, a program that helps volunteers understand what is happening with their interlocutors. By the way, on the the lexical analysis of posts in social networks the DARRA program (keeps track of suicidal mood among US soldiers returning from war) is built.
Crisis text line’s collected statistics can be used in medicine. The director of the Harvard Center for Biomedical Information Issac Keohane complains that it used to be difficult to understand what exactly should help young people with psychological disorders due to the fact that they did not have accurate data. He adds: “It is simply amazing – Amazon and Netflix offer their clients a much more customized service than modern physicians.”