AI technologies in the behavioral and mental health care

The pace of development of new artificial intelligence applications and ideas related to behavioral and mental health care is growing steadily. Every day appear new articles, blogs, papers that announce a new application, use case or development of a diverse and creative AI applications revolutionizing health care. The emergence of the AI technologies in the behavioral and mental health care is transforming the professional field which are already being used in training, treatment and consultation.

I just finishing to read and review a great book from David D. Luxton: Artificial Intelligence in Behavioral and Mental Health Care [1]  that explores the AI technologies applied to the digital mental health. It covers extensively the latest developments, AI technologies, NLP, machine learning, virtual reality, as well as the diverse and interesting applications that already being applied to diagnose and treat mental diseases like Alzheimer, schizophrenia, depression and autism. The possibilities of the new AI technologies are continuously growing, comprising expert systems, autonomous virtual agents, clinical decision support, virtual affective agents, automated mental state detection, robotics, mobile applications, and many more. An important argument in the book is that AI is not to replace Behavioral and Mental Health Care professionals, but is a tool that complement and extend the capabilities to diagnose, treat and monitor mental diseases. Definitively an excellent reference book for those interested in the field. Luxton and the multidisciplinary experts that collaborate in the book, did an outstanding job, with an extensive research on the body of knowledge adding at the end of each section an ample list of references to white papers and books.

AI is expanding in many fronts, even in areas that some years ago were science fiction. Now thanks to AI, computers can now see your mental health problems, or predict suicide with remarkable accuracy. The numbers of psychologt startups that uses artificial intelligence applied to psychology mental health care is growing fast as well as the very useful and effective applications.

AI has proven to be a viable technology for mental health care. It has reached a feasibility threshold, so it is just a matter of time, when it will become mainstream and be accessible for most of the population. Psychologists and Psychiatrists professionals will expand and complement their capabilities and even discover new paradigms not envisioned before, thanks to the side insights that AI will bring to science. Definitely AI is transforming healthcare and creating a new era of the psychology.

[1] Luxton, D. D. (Ed.). (2016). Artificial intelligence in behavioral and mental health care. Elsevier Academic Press

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