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New App Equipped With AI Could Help Treat Depression

Depressed Woman.Gratisography/Pexels

Depression is one of the most widely misunderstood psychological conditions in the modern world. A lot of people simply assume that it’s about people feeling said. Unfortunately, it goes a lot deeper than that since it can mean a constant, crippling absence of any sensation related to happiness or satisfaction. In an effort to curtail the damage that this condition can do, a new app equipped with an artificial intelligence is being tested right now.

One of the most effective treatments for depression is talking to psychotherapists who will work with patients through their emotional distress. However, talking about depression is not easy and plenty of people often avoid it altogether. The new app called Woebot could provide an effective bridge in such situations by giving patients an avenue for a conversation with something that’s not human, Business Insider reports.

The app was created by Stanford University clinical psychologist Alison Darcy. According to her, Woebot was based on the treatment cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is intended to measure patient reactions to challenging scenarios. Darcy also notes that while Woebot can’t replace human therapists, it can still pave the way to recovery.

“What we haven’t done a good job of in [therapy] is give people an array of options — what about the people who aren’t ready to talk to another person?” Darcy said. “This is part of the idea of meeting people where they’re at.”

As to how effective the chatbot can even be, Darcy and her team published a study that showed a marked improvement in patients suffering from depression while interacting with Woebot. Naturally, more research is needed in order to make any kind of concrete conclusion with regards to using AI-powered chatbots as official psychological treatment tools.

However, this development does signal an encouraging direction in which therapists can go. The rate of suicide among teens and young adults has seen an alarming rise over recent years. This technology could pave the way to substantially reducing that.

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