The current digital generation has lived more of their lives on their phones, thus taking a significant toll on mental health. As a result, according to reports, the number of Americans who take anxiety pills has increased. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2030 depression will be the largest single healthcare burden globally, costing $6 trillion, equal to entire healthcare spending worldwide in 2012.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by symptom heterogeneity and persistent avoidance. To overcome treatment limitations, digital health approaches offer innovative ways for treatment delivery that extends beyond imitating face-to-face modalities.

This blog discusses how digital health technological advancements have been increasingly used to bridge the clinical needs of PTSD:

CVT (Clinical Videoconferencing Technology):

CVT is often used to enhance or extend the reach of clinician-delivered psychotherapy. CVT enables real-time, interactive face-to-face communication between clinicians and patients located at different locations using a smartphone, computer screen, laptop, or tablet screen.

In recent years, CVT therapy for PTSD has been extensively studied both in individual and group formats and has become progressively more available in several service systems.

mHealth Technologies:

Smartphones and other mobile health technologies (e.g., tablet computers, e-books) are promising tools for improving PTSD assessments and treatments. Like online interventions, they can provide information, facilitate screening and assessment, mobilize social support, strengthen self-management, and enhance process and outcome assessment.

Due to their relatively continuous access between sessions, they can mobilize treatment processes in the natural environment by increasing situational coping, offering access to supportive resources, facilitating self-monitoring, enabling scheduling, and reminding patients of therapeutic tasks.

AI & Smartphone-Assisted Therapy:

AI-powered tools have grown rapidly over the past few years. They include AI Chabot’s that guide patients through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) strategies and ease their symptoms. In some cases, smartphone apps can even help diagnose emotional distress by analyzing the patient’s voice and speech patterns. Artificial Intelligence and mobile technology are also powering the next generation of teletherapy.

VR Solutions:

Exposition therapy has been considered a proven approach to treating PTSD for decades. Currently, virtual reality technology is increasingly used to simulate exposure to traumatic events and to environments related to those events.

Along with these, VR can also help to modify behaviors, emotions, and thoughts virtual experiences designed for and adapted to a person’s needs. Though the potential of VR looks promising, the need for controlled studies, standardized treatment protocols, etc. are critical for developing effective interventions.

IoT and Wearables:

The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and related paradigms, such as ubiquitous computing, has greatly increased the chances of developing technologies to assist patients with PTSD conditions. In this regard, IoT has contributed to improved patient quality of life and wellbeing through innovative solutions in monitoring, wellbeing interventions, self-quantification, and information services.

Because of the increased ability to collect real-time data indicating patterns of activity and behavior, IoT technologies have great potential for mental health during diagnosis, treatment, and care. Furthermore, these solutions allow patients to remotely communicate with health care professionals, which enables a better discussion about the patients’ views, their health, and condition, as well as improved monitoring.

Telehealth:

Telehealth is more convenient and secure in the sense that no one will be able to see a person receiving the treatment. The most widely used and studied telehealth modality is clinical video teleconferencing (CVT) which allows distant therapists and patients to engage in a real-time two-way interaction.

Telemental health (TMH) is definitely one of the promising digital solutions to aid in bridging the gaps in the advent of electronic communications and information technology to provide and support healthcare when distance separates patients from their caregivers.

Summary:

As outlined here, technological advancements can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of trauma-related interventions like PTSD. In light of the expected spread of these technologies around the world within the next decade, it’s definite they have the potential to significantly reduce the burden of mental health problems experienced by trauma survivors.

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