Technology affects every aspect of our lives. New technologies are being developed for use in mental health. One of the areas where much of the technology is focused is in the treatment of people who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD can negatively impact a person’s wellbeing. It occurs after a person has experienced trauma and is common for those who have been abused or been in a war zone. There are several different technological applications that may assist with the treatment of those who have PTSD.
These days, it is easy to find a qualified therapist on the internet. Then, you can speak from them in your own home and have access to more therapists than you would have had in your own area.
The benefits of online therapy for PTSD are numerous. Not only does it allow people to access and speak with a therapist at any time, but some platforms also allow a client to message a therapist at any time. Therefore, when someone encounters a trigger for their symptoms associated with PTSD, they can message their therapist, who can read the message as soon as possible.
Also, some people who have PTSD do not want to be seen arriving at an appointment with a therapist in their own community. Online therapy allows you to receive help privately, and you can even do so in your own home.
Also read: How to Find a Great Online Therapist?
This may be greatly beneficial for those who have PTSD because it may improve the number of people who seek help for symptoms of PTSD. One of the common reasons that people do not seek help is the fear of being perceived negatively. In addition, the use of online resources may help educate people about the positive aspects of mental health and therapy.
If you have PTSD and want to see the ways that therapy can help, check out this article: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/struggling-with-ptsd-therapy-can-help/
The internet is amazing, and nowadays, people who have PTSD can find support groups online. This can allow someone to easily connect with people who have gone through similar experiences or suffer from similar symptoms.
Before, a person had to live in a larger town or city to find groups of people who were suffering from similar traumatic experiences. Now, you can find groups of people online that do not have to be located in the same region or even the same country.
Furthermore, many people are hesitant to join support groups in their own area or community because they want to keep their experiences and mental health private. Online support groups can provide the support a person needs without influencing their position in their community.
Several technology companies are developing artificial intelligence for use within the mental health atmosphere. These things can provide people with tools and guidance for their mental health concerns.
Chatbots can be used to speak with a person and help guide them to learn healthy coping techniques and methods. They can even be used with therapy to help communication, and some bots may recommend therapy in some situations.
The research for the effectiveness of bots and other artificial intelligence for mental health issues looks good, even though more needs to be completed to come to a full conclusion. Some AI technology can also detect nonverbal communication such as facial expressions or gestures. This may help to assist a therapist in their diagnosis or treatment as well.
Some experts believe that people may feel more comfortable sharing personal information with artificial intelligence than they would feel sharing the same information with a living person. In interaction with a human therapist, there will always be some amount of restraint or shame. This barrier is reduced or even eliminated when the person speaks to a bot.
There are also personalization technologies being developed for artificial intelligence. This technology can send relevant information, skills, techniques, and other conversations to the clients. This may lead to more successful interventions.
Smartwatch technology is constantly being improved as a monitoring device. This can be used to send information to a therapist or other medical professional if the heart rate increases or the person starts sweating or having other symptoms associated with their mental distress.
Smartwatches are not uncomfortable and are very affordable. This can help people get the help they need when they need it. This same technology could be applied to other mental health conditions like anxiety or even substance abuse disorder.
The technology works by measuring a baseline when the person is in a stable mental state. It will record their heart rate, movement, perspiration, temperature, and other physiological signs that may be associated with mental health. Then, when these things change suddenly or drastically, the technology will know and intervene either through messages or other means.
Some of the technology may even be able to predict upcoming mental distress using the physical signs and send a notification to the client and their therapist. The technology may even send positive messages or comforting images to help curb mental distress.
Other smartwatches with similar technology are designed to interfere with trauma-based nightmares. The technology for these is based on service dogs for those who have PTSD because these dogs are trained to wake up their owners when they suffer from night terrors.
The watch will learn the sleep pattern of the person who wears it by detecting heart rate, temperature, and movement. Then, when the person’s physical signs are altered, the watch will vibrate and interrupt the nightmare.
When the watch interrupts the nightmare, it will not wake the person up. This can help the person get uninterrupted, quality sleep, which is important for functioning and mental health.
Virtual reality can be used in exposure therapy for people who have PTSD. Exposure therapy targets behaviors, such as avoidance, in response to the situations, thoughts, memories, or other triggers that trigger fear and anxiety in those who have PTSD.
If these negative behaviors are never addressed, they can increase in severity and frequency and impact a person’s wellbeing. People with PTSD often avoid certain situations, places, or people so that they are unable to discover that those things are not as distressing or dangerous as their minds believe they are.
Exposure therapy helps to reduce a person’s response to these triggers in order to eliminate the avoidance behavior. This can improve a person’s wellbeing and mental health. To do this, the person has to confront the things that they are afraid of and the things that trigger an anxious response. Then, the person who has PTSD can learn that the anxiety will decrease by itself.
For exposure therapy to work, the person has to confront a situation that prompts their fear and anxiety. However, this can be incredibly distressing for someone who already has severe PTSD. It may even be unsafe to confront a situation that prompts the symptoms.
Virtual reality allows a person who has PTSD to immerse themselves in an environment that can provoke fear and anxiety. However, they can do so virtually using VR. This is either through the use of a VR headset or in a room that has video panels on all the visible walls.
The VR environment can be personalized and designed to help the person confront situations, events, places, or people that are unsafe to visit in person or to allow more gradual exposure. In addition, VR exposure therapy may even be useful for other mental health issues, including anxiety or phobias.
Access to Information
The internet has a ton of information available, and our technological devices allow us to access this information easily, immediately, and from anywhere. This can help to educate people who have PTSD on their symptoms and how to reach out and get help from a mental health professional.
There are even guides that are written by mental health professionals that can guide a person towards a healthier lifestyle for mental health or learn coping and mindfulness techniques.
In addition, the internet is a great way to spread factual information about mental health. This can help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. In turn, more people may seek the help that they need because they are knowledgeable about it, and the stigma around it has been reduced. There is still a long way to go to lessen the stigma associated with mental health issues, but the internet may be beneficial to this cause.
Final Thoughts on Technology and PTSD
Some of this technology is still limited or expensive, but the future looks promising. Not all therapists have access to smartwatch technology that is useful for PTSD or VR headsets but more and more will hopefully gain access in the future. However, it does not hurt to ask a therapist if they have a way to utilize newer technology for the treatment of PTSD or another mental health condition.
About Author: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering various health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to target subjects related to anxiety and depression specifically.