The Link Between Technology and Schizophrenia: It’s Not What You Think
According to the most recent studies, only about 1% of the global population suffers from schizophrenia. However, that still comes up to roughly 2.6 million people in the United States alone. Plus, it’s one of the most debilitating mental illnesses on the planet. So, doctors and scientists are constantly looking for ways to make the symptoms more bearable.
Enter: innovative modern-day technology. You’d think it would contribute to a person’s break from reality, and in many cases it does. But those characteristics may also help people with schizophrenia lead more normal lives. To understand how it all works, you must first understand the disease.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is actually not a disease at all. It’s a serious neurological disorder that’s characterized by thoughts or experiences that aren’t necessarily rooted in reality. People with this disorder typically have a hard time fitting in with society, maintaining relationships, and holding down jobs. Yet, many of them still do because of the efficacy of their coping mechanisms.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, though, more people suffered without help for mental illness than ever before in mankind’s history since the Industrial Revolution. As the world began to change under the weight of the virus, so too did society’s views on mental illness. Now, people are starting to look at technology for answers to their most pressing questions.
NOTE: If you question whether you or someone you love has schizophrenia, start by taking an online test to see where you stand here: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/schizophrenia-test
3 ways technology is helping people with schizophrenia
The idea of using digital technology in the treatment of schizophrenia and its symptoms is nothing new. In fact, scientists and psychologists have been dabbling with the concept for decades already. Today, tech is being used in almost every industry but is just now entering the mental health arena with any real legitimacy.
So far, experts are able to recognize at least three benefits to using technology in the treatment of schizophrenia:
#1. Voice Blocking and/or Managing
Certain technological interfaces and/or activities may help people with schizophrenic symptoms cope with their psychotic breaks from reality. Hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations can be frightening. But some devices and software programs can assist with bringing people back down to Earth. Various programs may alert users of delusional behaviors or provide specific triggers when an issue arises.
#2. Relationship Development
Forging and maintaining healthy relationships can be tough for someone who struggles with reality. Meanwhile, finding people with similar issues and interests may seem impossible for someone who has become insecure because of their disorder. But virtual reality technologies are making it easier than ever for schizophrenics to meet friends, chat with peers, and seek counseling.
#3. Social Anxiety Relief
Because technology is helping bring people together from all parts of the world, those using it can experience different cultures and opinions without having to leave the house. That, in turn, is helping individuals take small steps toward rejoining society. Plus, folks can just walk away from a conversation online instead of waiting for the appropriate time to do so.
Schizophrenia can significantly impact your daily life and/or your ability to accomplish goals. That’s true even with the best technologies in the world. So, don’t ignore the symptoms or try to self-medicate with substances or gadgets. Instead, seek professional help and ask for treatment recommendations from your doctor.
How to get help with schizophrenic symptoms
You don’t have to suffer with the schizophrenic symptoms just because you have limited access to technology. There are numerous tech-free treatment options and most clinical experts use a combination of several different therapies to help their patients cope or get better. So, while there’s no known cure for schizophrenia, you can see find solace in one of these:
- Talk Therapy – Speak to a professional about the unrealistic thoughts and experiences you’ve been having.
- Group Therapy – Consult with supportive individuals who understand exactly what you’re going through.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Work on your subconscious triggers with the help of a certified professional.
- Antipsychotic Medication – Attack the problem from a chemical standpoint to manage symptoms and limit psychotic episodes.
- Rehabilitation – Learn new ways of dealing with your mental illness while gradually rejoining society.
Try to choose your ideal therapy based on how you feel, where you live, and what you do for a living. That’s because the best treatment plan is one that assimilates into your existing lifestyle. To get more information on how to cope with schizophrenia or to find out which technologies are best for your condition, talk to a mental health expert.
Too much technology can pull anyone away from reality, but the right technologies can actually help those with schizophrenia feel like their feet are more firmly planted on the ground.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with Mind-Diagnostics.org. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.