Ideas flow like water. The more you think, the more they come. The more they come, the more they flow.
Some unconfirmed estimates show that human brain generates 60,000-80,000 ideas or thoughts per day.
As per a study, 70% – 80% of these thoughts are negative.
So in a year a normal human brain produces more than 15.5 Million negative thoughts.
If we consider the entire human population of 7,496,146,095, the number of negative thoughts produced per year is:
Imagine the mental filth that we are generating each day every year in the world.
The high generation of negative thoughts are getting compounded by the negative data feed in terms of news and technology enabled stimuli that is being fed to us. Given this, there is a long list of mental disorders that are emerging:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Psychotic Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- And more…
The problem of these mental disorders is so common that we may not even know whether we are suffering or someone in our close circle is suffering from it. Especially in countries like India where mental disorders are often linked to societal taboo.
One of the most common disorder discussed and often ignore is ‘Depression’.
In October 2016, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru released a mental health survey that said one in every 20 Indians suffered from some form of depression. – Source Times of India
So what is Depression?
Depression is the mental state of feeling “down”. It is a state of feeling severely despondent, and feel dejected.
Given the high growth rate of depression worldwide, WHO has set the theme for World’s Health Day today i.e. April 7, 2017 as Depression : let’s talk.
What are some of the symptoms of Depression? (source: WebMD)
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Loss of memory or inability to remember things
- Finding it difficult to take decisions
- Feeling of fatigue and decreased energy
- Feeling of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Persistent aches and pains
- Sad, anxious or empty feelings
- Suicidal thoughts
If someone around you shows these symptoms, then it may be a case of clinical depression. It is important to refer to a psychiatrist.
So the big question that arises is how technology (and in particular Artificial Intelligence) help in countering Depression?
Here are a few strides that have been made in the field of AI to counter or treat depression:
- Application of Deep Learning on previous data built model to give models that can suggestions based on health and behavorial history : Mental doctors and Psychiatrists around the world can adopt AI-driven means to identify signs and symptoms of depression in their patients through deep learning of the patient’s medical history. With large amounts of data available, AI is enabling smooth identification of such instances and is helping in breaking the trend of growing depression.
- AI Detection through Instagram behavior of people.: With advent of social media, public display of emotions is on the rise. This is a blessing for identifying image based patterns for individuals who may be suffering from depressive tendencies. Posts on Instagram and consequent behavior of individuals there is enabling AI based detection of depressive behaviors.
- Use of modern apps: Artificial Intelligence companies like Cogito are building real-time emotional intelligence monitoring systems. These systems are helping individuals to understand their emotional state and also in alerting the subjects in case they are falling into depressive state.
As more and more technology evolution happens, it is imperative that technology continues serve to make world a better place to live. The investments and solutions of AI in mental illness field are surely the step in right direction.
In addition, as an individual, on this World Health Day, we should pledge to counter Depression: Lets Talk.