– Alexey Shalimov, CEO, Eastern Peak
Mental health profoundly impacts human relationships, productivity, and overall wellness. Coping with mundane stresses, making contributions to our communities, forming supportive social connections, and nurturing creativity are reasons why mental healthcare deserves support and attention.
This article will focus on the use of AI for mental healthcare and its potential for revolutionizing the ways we give and receive mental health services. But first, let’s take a look at the current state of affairs and the reasons why we could be dealing with a global crisis in this area.
The Demand Is Increasing
As per the recent WHO Mental Health report, about one in eight people in the world live with a mental disorder.
Urbanization, economic pressures, and the fast-paced nature of life have led to growing stress rates and the accelerated spread of psychiatric conditions worldwide. Fortunately, over the past decade, people have learned how to handle and understand mental health. Most people are now aware that intelligence and mental illness are different concepts.
Efforts to eliminate the stigma have encouraged more individuals to seek help. Consequently, the demand for mental health services has increased and the issues with access to high-quality care have become apparent. Around half the world’s population lives in societies where there is just one psychiatrist to serve 200 000 or more people. A large percentage of dangerous conditions still go undiagnosed.
The Transformative Impact of AI
Leveraging artificial intelligence in behavioral and mental healthcare could provide clinicians with means of resolving an ongoing mental healthcare crisis. AI automates routine and meticulous tasks and accounts for improved patient experience. Below are some of the aspects of treatment and patient experience that can be significantly improved by AI.
Today, therapists use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand an individual’s language and linguistic patterns. By identifying unique markers in language such as specific cognitive biases or thought patterns, NLP models can assist in tailoring interventions and therapies to suit each person’s specific needs and circumstances.
Tracking symptoms and progress
NLP models can also help therapists track progress by pinpointing changes in the client’s speech patterns. By detecting subtle changes in a patient’s speech, AI can help understand how they correlate with a person’s emotional and psychological state.
AI is also widely used in cognitive behavioral therapy. The algorithms can provide real-time adaptive interventions and feedback during therapy sessions. By continuously monitoring the individual’s progress, behavior, and responses, AI modules can adjust patient care strategies, offer immediate feedback, and suggest alternative coping strategies instead of the ones that have proven counterproductive.
Patient flow management and precise diagnostics
In hospital settings, AI can play a big role in streamlining patient flow and minimizing wait time. Technologies like NLP can also help doctors analyze unstructured clinical data. This technology can extract relevant information, detect patterns, and assist in making accurate diagnoses and treatment scheduling.
AI contributes to mental healthcare by providing tools and techniques to process, understand, and utilize the vast amount of information available, leading to improved diagnosis and support for individuals with psychiatric concerns.
How AI Contributes to Psychological and Psychiatric Treatment
AI can serve to alleviate the most common mental and emotional struggles affecting today’s society. Below are some of the most vivid examples.
Anxiety disorder and major depression
AI is capable of successfully screening and analyzing patients for signs of these two major disorders. Furthermore, AI can support the delivery of digital therapies for these conditions. The use of AI for depression treatment can provide interventions that can include interactive modules, guided exercises, and feedback mechanisms to help people develop coping skills and manage their symptoms.
Artificial intelligence can also contribute to treatment by working on mental health monitoring using data collected from patients, medication management, and sifting through databases of clinical information to provide research and insights.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex condition experienced by a large percentage of war veterans and affecting millions of people worldwide. Because of its complex nature, a lot of individuals find it difficult to open up about their experiences for fear of being judged. Virtual therapists, however, help patients feel more at ease, which facilitates recovery.
AI can enhance virtual reality (VR) technologies used in exposure therapy for PTSD. VR simulations recreate traumatic experiences in a controlled environment, allowing individuals to gradually confront and process their traumatic memories. AI-powered tools can monitor and track the symptoms of patients with PTSD over time. AI can assess changes in sleep patterns, mood, anxiety levels, or other relevant indicators. This information can be shared with healthcare professionals to adjust treatment and ensure ongoing support.
The misuse or excessive use of substances often leads to negative physical, psychological, and social consequences. Treatment for substance abuse involves detoxification, counseling, support groups, medication-assisted therapy, and ongoing support to help individuals achieve and maintain recovery.
AI algorithms can provide real-time feedback, reminders for medication or therapy sessions, and suggest healthier alternatives to substance use. AI can also help predict and prevent relapses in individuals recovering from this complex condition. By analyzing historical data, patterns, triggers, and real-time information, AI modules can identify factors that may increase the probability of relapse. Likewise, AI can be effective in treating behavioral addictions, enabling healthcare professionals to intervene promptly or modify treatment plans to prevent setbacks.
Tracking patients’ conditions
It’s no secret that emotional and physical health are intricately interconnected and have a strong impact on each other. Negative psychological conditions can weaken the immune system, disrupt sleep patterns, increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and impair overall well-being.
AI modules can analyze electronic health records, patient behavior patterns, social media posts, or voice data, to detect early signs of disturbing symptoms. Doctors then can take timely action and balance their disease treatment with simultaneous treatment of mental health issues to facilitate recovery.