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Hypermobile & Feeling Low? How Artificial Intelligence Improves Mental Health

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) improves mental health, according to a new study from the University of Illinois Chicago. The research found that when an AI voice-based virtual coach was used by participants they reported fewer depression and anxiety symptoms. This is a crucial discovery for people living with hypermobility and anxiety. 

A clear link between hypermobility and mood disorders has already been established and finding effective ways to manage anxiety is crucial. But this is easier said than done when mental health services across the world are poor. For example, in the US, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing states that ‘Mental health services in the U.S. are insufficient’. Meanwhile, in the UK, 41% of mental health services are understaffed

Is there an AI that helps with anxiety?

Yes, researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago seem to think that AI improves mental health disorders, including anxiety. In their study, they used an AI voice-based virtual coach for behavioral therapy, called Lumen. It was found to be effective in reducing depression, anxiety, and psychological distress in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.


The use of Lumen was also associated with increased activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with cognitive control. The results of the study suggest that virtual therapy can be a useful tool in filling the gaps in mental health care, particularly for patients who have difficulty accessing traditional therapy.

A larger trial is currently underway to compare the use of Lumen with both a control group on a wait list, and patients receiving human-coached problem-solving therapy.

Can AI detect mental illness?

54% of Americans don’t receive help for their mental illness. It’s also common for people with hypermobility and anxiety to go undiagnosed. After all, the link between hypermobility and mental disorders isn’t one that you’d expect.

Having undiagnosed anxiety can make hypermobility symptoms worse as anxiety can lead to muscle tension, which can put stress on joints and make them more likely to dislocate. Anxiety can also lead to changes in breathing patterns, which can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the muscles and joints.

Anxiety and other mood disorders also affect sleep. People with hypermobility need more sleep than a typical person, so not being able to sleep due to anxiety can heighten hypermobility symptoms.

Now, let’s find out how AI can detect mental illness:

  • Analyzing text – AI can be used to analyze text, such as social media posts or medical records, to look for patterns that suggest the presence of a mental illness. For example, AI can identify words or phrases that are commonly used by people with a particular mental illness.

  • Analyzing images – AI can also be used to analyze images, such as facial expressions or brain scans, to look for signs of mental illness. For example, it can identify changes in facial expressions that are associated with depression or anxiety.

  • Analyzing behavior – AI can also be used to analyze behavior, such as the way people move or interact with others, to look for signs of mental illness. For example, AI can be used to identify changes in gait that are associated with schizophrenia.

Can AI improve mental health in people with hypermobility?

Yes, AI has the potential to improve mental health linked to hypermobility in a number of ways. For example, AI can be used to:

  • Provide therapy – AI can be used to deliver therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to people with mental illness. This can be a valuable tool for people with hypermobility who have mobility issues and cannot easily access therapy in person.
  • Personalized treatment – AI can be used to personalize treatment for hypermobile people with mental illness. This can be done by analyzing a person’s individual symptoms and preferences to create a treatment plan. This is important as hypermobility syndromes, are rare and special care needs to be paid to its unique needs.

  • Track progress –  AI can be used to track a person’s progress in therapy. It can also identify areas where they need more support. This can help to ensure that people with hypermobility are getting the most out of their treatment.

  • Provides support – AI can be used to provide support to people with mental illness. This can be done through chatbots, forums, or other online platforms. This can help people to feel less alone. They’ll also be able to connect with others with hypermobility who understand what they are going through.

What are the benefits of using AI to improve mental health?

Although mental health is much less of a taboo today than it was a decade or more ago, people still have reservations about talking about mental health. For example, 40% of men never speak about mental health, with 29% of them saying it’s due to embarrassment. 

AI removes the need to speak to a human about mental health. As a result, it’s a more widely accessible tool to boost mental health. 

People with hypermobility can also benefit from using AI to improve mental health over a human professional. Hypermobility causes cognitive problems, including brain fog and poor concentration. AI can help someone with hypermobility to voice their problems without adding stress or time restraints to the process.

Plus, as AI can be accessed at any time, it’s useful for people with hypermobility and anxiety who sleep in in the morning, take an afternoon nap, or can’t sleep at night.

Why can’t AI replace psychologists?

With all this in mind, you’re probably thinking that as AI improves mental health symptoms, there’s no need for human psychologists anymore. However, AI is unlikely to ever completely replace psychologists because AI doesn’t have: 

  • Empathy – AI cannot understand or respond to human emotions in the same way that a human therapist can.

  • Judgment – AI cannot make judgments about a person’s mental state in the same way that a human therapist can.

  • Experience –  AI does not have the same level of experience as a human therapist. A psychologist with real-world experience in dealing with patients with hypermobility-related anxiety is arguably better than a machine.

  • Personalize – AI cannot personalize treatment in the same way that a human therapist can.

  • Trust – People may not trust AI to provide them with the same level of care as a human therapist.

There’s reassuring evidence that AI improves mental health when voice-based virtual coaches are used. This is good news for hypermobility sufferers experiencing anxiety who have problems accessing traditional health care for their mental health.

Sources:

https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/news/lack-of-access-root-cause-mental-health-crisis-in-america/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10230127/

Author

  • Amy

    Amy lives with hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD). She spent years not knowing what was wrong with her body, before eventually being diagnosed in her 30s. She has two young children - both of whom are hypermobile.

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