• Maya Nair

Woebot- The AI Therapist

Chatbots are running the digital world. Bots have offered assistance, support, and companionship to people. However, there is one boundary they have struggled to cross: actively treating people. No longer does therapy have to be an in-person activity. Now the bot delivers “digital therapeutics. The psychiatrist's couch has been replaced by a smartphone screen in Woebot, a therapeutic chatbot.



According to the World Health Organization, depression affects more than 300 million people. At the same time, the federal government warns of a critical shortage of therapists and psychiatrists. As a result of the pandemic, there has been an upsurge in mental health issues and, as a result, an increasing demand for mental health support services. Indeed, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) discovered that 21% of persons had depression between January and March 2021. Similarly, four out of ten adults in the United States said they have experienced anxiety or depression symptoms. During this Covid times need for these chatbot therapeutics become much more essential Woebot, an AI therapy chatbot has been a popular option for young people throughout the pandemic.

What is Woebot?

The artificial intelligence, Woebot, is a small yellow bot and is somewhat quirky in manner, sending users GIFs and emojis when they complete tasks. Developed by Stanford University, the app, which delivers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, has shown that it does improve mental health. In just two weeks, users reported a 22% reduction in their symptoms of anxiety and depression. In a pandemic that reduces all human contact, Woebot has unsurprisingly seen a significant increase in users this year. According to Darcy, founder of Woebot, their daily active users doubled in mid-March 2021, with current users speaking to Woebot more frequently.

Woebot has acquired a lot of positive feedback for treating a specific type of sadness called postpartum depression. Woebot's postpartum depression digital therapy, WB001, obtained FDA Breakthrough Device Designation in May 2021. This service aims to integrate components of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy to offer a mobile-based treatment.


Therapy by AI

The application of cognitive behavioural treatment, or CBT, by Woebot, makes logical and practical justification. Unlike other types of psychotherapy, which look for the core reasons of psychological disorders, which can frequently be traced back to infancy, CBT aims to help people recognise their flawed thinking patterns and comprehend how this influences their behaviour negatively.

Therapists attempt to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety by modifying these self-defeating behaviours.

Many mental health specialists believe cognitive behavioural therapy can be used, at least in part, by algorithm because it is structured and skill-oriented.

Data on a modified version of the platform meant to treat substance use disorder was recently disclosed by the company. Woebot received good marks for affective relationship creation from participants who tested positive for problematic substance use during the pandemic, as well as reduced cravings and enhanced confidence in their ability to resist addictive urges.


According to the American Psychiatric Association, digital mental health has grown into a multibillion-dollar business with over 10,000 apps. The apps range from guided meditation (Headspace) to mood tracking (MoodKit) to certified therapists' text treatment (Talkspace and BetterHelp).


Future of AI Therapist

Woebot will never be able to replace traditional treatment due to its incapacity to recreate the interpersonal link between patient and therapist. This does not, however, imply that Woebot is no longer necessary. Woebot, on the other hand, appears to be best suited as an adjunct to in-person talking therapy. Woebot can play a significant part in offering assistance at any time of day because it is available on demand.

As a result, it appears that mental health care is trending toward a hybrid approach in which apps like Woebot are used to provide a continuous support network.






Source:

https://www.medicaldevice-network.com/analysis/mental-health-chatbot/

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/technology/something-bothering-you-tell-it-to-woebot

https://distilledpost.com/2021/06/woebot-the-ai-therapist/



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