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Mental Illness Meets Smart Home Technology

Mental Illness Meets Smart Home Technology

The latest installment of CNET's "Tech Enabled" series examines the role smart technology can play in mental illness...and the results are surprising. 

For those of us on the outside, technology seems an unlikely ally in the mental illness healing process, especially for those diagnosed with disorders like schizophrenia. As Dr. John Torous, the co-director of the Digital Psychiatry Program at the Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, articulates: "People assumed that patients with a serious mental illness either did not own technology like smartphones or tablets, or if they did, they wouldn't want to use them, because it would make them upset, paranoid or afraid."

However, reality paints a different picture: 

In 2014, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) commissioned a survey of 457 schizophrenic adults. The poll asked them a series of questions about how their condition intersected with their use of technology. Nearly three in five respondents said they used technology to cope with their symptoms, drowning out voices with headphones, for instance. About two in three said they anticipated technology would become a bigger part of their recovery in the coming years.

Common items such as smartwatches help monitor vitals and keep patients to a routine, whereas connected lights and appliances help deliver necessities on a scheduled, unintrusive basis.  

This is certainly promising news in an historically difficult medical field, and researchers are increasingly turning to smart home technology as an tool. 

The complete article is available online

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