Per Guinness book of records, nuclear power is the strongest force known to humankind. Such forces can crush the bones and crack the skulls but do they have the ability to break the resolve of an indomitable spirit?Whether its decline of the mighty Caesar or fall of unparalleled Drona it was never handiwork of such external forces but a direct consequence of an unconquerable and unexplainable emotion called LOVE. It can unleash stupendous energy which can even inspire a timid spirit to scale an incredible feat on the contrary the sheer perception of not being loved can make an infallible soul to lose its glory and get into a viscous zone of despondency, clinically termed as depression.
Depression is neither sadness or crying nor its wearing black but it’s a paralyzing numbness to emotions and with a perennial desire to be alone without being lonely. Depression has a special inclination towards woman making them twice as vulnerable than men. Hormonal factors such as menstrual cycles (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), birth of child (Baby blues)are primary contributing factors, it gets compounded with inherent social bias such as parity at work (Howard-Howdy syndrome), imbalance in personal life, separation of loved one, illness etc. leading to paradox of a weeping soul with a smiling face !!.
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The greatest deception of mental illness lies in its uncanny ability to masquerade its deep rooted insidious impact. Statistically, cost of mental healthcare is estimated at $16 Trillion globally, with 165m people affected each year in EU and more than 90% of registered suicide cases in US attributed directly to Mental illness. This numbers are gleaned from registered cases, it will be exponentially increasing when undocumented cases in developing and underdeveloped countries are factored in. In addition, mental health manifest itself into a spaghetti of healthcare challenges such as obesity, substance abuse, failure on med compliance and its concomitant chronic impacts. While system amplifies signals on physical care it conveniently attenuate SOS emanating from the Mental Health crisis.This crisis further deepens with acute shortage of providers making it virtually impossible to bridge the delivery -demand deficit.This challenge is intimidating &imminent and must be met. Artificial Intelligence (AI) based systems are heralding an optimistic sign which can steer us away from this crisis
Physical conditions such as fracture or a skin rash is visible making diagnosis easier and gets auto qualified for objective treatment, however detection of depression is not straight forward and historically treatment had been more subjective with iterative time and cost consuming approaches without guaranteed outcome. To complicate the already convoluted scenario, social stigma inhibits seeking of support on mental health. AI has made deeper inroads in addressing these concerns
a) Diagnosing /Prognosis of depression
b) Translating traditional subjective treatment into objective evidence based outcome
c) Providing an accessible, continuous monitored care within realm of anonymity to the patient
Machine learning models can detect “Pre-occupation” pattern by gleaning through social media posts/emails and other digital footprints flagging an early warning system on the onset of depression and its stages. Further, a voice based AI can unobtrusively monitor choice of words, tone and its pauses, over a coffee table conversation and identify setting in of depression among one or more of its members. These models are evolving and are more efficient as they are put into use
By devouring through patient’s brain network scan, AI can determine efficacy of an antidepressant on the patient and subsequently make course corrections. In complex scenario, wherein choice of mood stabilizers vs anti-depressant has to be made AI has gained the credibility in making more accurate choices (92.4%). Thus, AI has transformed a subjective behavioral health into an objective one
Free AI apps/skills available such as WoeBot, Wysa and Tess digitally monitors behavioral health and harnesses its comprehensive NLP based therapy libraries to make appropriate interventions. This apps are customizable for a patient’s pace,while providing much required round the clock access with the convenience of usage. All these bundled under absolute anonymity thereby shielding patient from social stigma. These are phenomena progress but it’s not the end,AI based behavioral systems are in stages of infancy, we are currently witnessing discrete and disparate models of AI serving separate needs.Next Gen AI will be a full-fledged Digital Assistant which will encompass this features into one cognitive reinforcement learning model.
On the exodus to the Digital world, we made few vital choices. Decision to stay as nuclear families, favoring the Facebook followers over the fellowships in real time are few of them. Such decisions come with price tag, they had made us vulnerable to new age ambushes of cyber bullying and entrapped us into abyss of “Approval Syndrome”. With AI as an emancipator,the shadow of crisis is drifting away and ray of hope is dawning back. In this poignant journey, AI will be a lamp to our feet and light to our path adding days to our life and Life to our days!!!