The Use AI In Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

    Posted on Friday, Feb 14, 2020
    "How AI Can Be Used In Treatment of Depression & Anxiety"
    Mental health has become an emerging issue in the world. It includes anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder etc. Anxiety can be described as a feeling which we can feel before taking any test or deciding something very crucial. It is a temporary feeling which goes away in a short span. But if this persists for a longer time and become permanent, then it is termed as an anxiety disorder. It can affect your daily life and hinder your activities such as personal life, work life and society. It can also affect the way you think, feel and manage your day-to day activities like eating, working and sleeping.
    A person may feel the mentioned symptoms:
    • Become easily tired
    • Restlessness
    • Lesser concentration
    • Irritated easily
    • Difficulty in controlling feelings
    • Sleep disorders
    • Hopelessness
    • Interest loss in any hobbies and activities
    • Unexplained appetite and weight alterations
    • Suicide attempts
    • Health problems such as aches or cramps
    Various medications known as antidepressants are available for the treatment of these disorders. Their mode of action is to lift up the mood and emotional stability of an individual. It also enhances the coping mechanism so that one handles their temperaments in a better way. There is variety of antidepressants available, so one must be very cautious while choosing them. It can take multiple efforts and lots of patience to choose the right medication and the optimum dose for you. Discuss with your doctor about the usage and all the possible side effects of the medication.
    But as we all know, the social stigma and financial burden attached with the treatment of mental health disorders are prevalent to a greater extent rather than the actual disease. The treatment option requires a lot of financial burden, social stigma and availability of resources. The various aspects associated with mental health care could be managed with the help of “Artificial Intelligence”. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. This technology can be used as a cost effective and easily accessible therapeutic agent. Although, it has its limitation of not being designed as a trained therapist but still it emerges as a feasible option for better treatment. 
    People all over the world are more concerned about the social stigma associated with the mental health care; thus AI can act as the best solution available. It uses web and mobile based interventions to collect the data and interpret it in easy ways. Use of AI proves to be less intensive, more cost effective and produce much reliable treatment. Patients feel much comfortable in using a mhealth app rather than talking face to face with a doctor about his/her condition. They can also manage their health issues and monitor their health in a better way.
    AI can be used in various aspects of metal heath disorders such as predicting treatment outcome in depression, classifying various neuro-imaging and identifying several mental health disorders. Machine learning mechanism has the ability to analyse and identify the previous data and make decision based on it. The decision this made are accurate to a larger basis. This can help in diagnosing a broader range of mental disorders. Clinical data has become very massive as it involves various demographic data, genetic data, pathological data, social network data, biomedical patterns, images and different categories of data.
    Using AI will involve the use of smart phones which has already gained access to the whole world in a short span of time. Thus it will put more attention on the use of smartphone as a mhealth device rather than just a digital device. The easy accessibility of smartphones should be considered as a boon for the health industry.
    There is added advantage of lesser cost investment in the use of AI treatment. Just like yoga, It can accelerate the needed treatment and enhance the chances of favourable results. The data collection and readability will be much faster than the conventional treatment; it will always prove to be better option for the near future.
    But as everything has some pros and cons; same is the case with use of artificial intelligence in the health industry. There is always a risk of data leakage which can worsen the patients’ health condition and can lead to trauma. Therefore, more emphasis should be laid on developing a new policy and continue working on intense research in the field of using AI in management of metal health care. There is a sever need of balance between the personal privacy of patient’s data and the favourable uses of clinical data. The maximum focus should be put on privacy and confidentiality issues. This field requires a broader research and understanding on this topic.

    ---- Ankit Bhange
    Ankit Bhange is a mater student in the Department of Computer Engineering

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