Digital Dr.: Google on search queries in the US will identify users in depression

Some animals are depressed too. Although there is a pet, it may just be resting

Google Inc. (or rather, Alphabet Holding, of which Google is a part) decided to conduct an interesting experiment related to the field of medicine. According to the search queries of users of mobile devices, Google’s algorithms will distinguish users with depression. This project will start the other day, so that soon depressed Americans will be able to get informational support.

In our turbulent times, dozens, if not hundreds of millions of people suffer from depression. According to the medical definition, it is a mental disorder, which is characterized by a decrease in mood, loss of the ability to experience joy, impaired thinking, and a decrease in performance. In the latter case, the person looks at everything through the prism of the negative and goes into the camp of pessimists. It is worth noting that older people are three times more depressed than young or middle-aged people. In the US, every fifth person suffers from depression.

In addition to the main ones, doctors distinguish additional symptoms of depression:

The World Health Organization claims that depression is one of the main causes of adolescent morbidity and disability. About 5% of children and adolescents in the age group from 10 to 16 years are exposed to it. According to Americans, only every second person tries to treat depression in one way or another , the rest do nothing for it.

How is Google going to identify people suffering from depression and what will the search engine do? If an American (I remind you that this project is relevant only for the United States so far), will enter the corresponding queries into the Google search string, the latter will give information about the disorder itself and how to treat it.

If you wish, you can take a short test that can show whether a person really suffers from depression, or simply seems to him (or else he suffers from something else). This is a questionnaire PHQ-9 . The results will not be shared, this is private information, which, according to the idea of ​​the corporation representatives, will help people get rid of their ailments.

If the diagnosis of “clinical depression” is confirmed , then the person can only go to the doctor, who will prescribe a course of treatment. The project is being implemented jointly with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Experts say that clinical depression is curable. If nothing is done, this disease can affect many aspects of a person’s life. However, some people begin to be treated (or at least do something) after 6-8 years (!) After the first symptoms of depression appear. Clinical depression (major depressive disorder) also has variations. One of them is known as dysthymia . This is a chronic mood disorder, when a person complains of his bad mood every day for several years.

It is quite difficult for doctors to diagnose depression, since its symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other mental problems. Some patients simply fear antidepressants and the fact that they are prescribed something potent. Others believe that they themselves will cope with the problem, and talk about it is considered a sign of weakness. There are also people who are just afraid to get a psychiatrist.

Due to the fact that information about the depression will be issued by Google, and in the main issue, this data will be seen by millions of people. They will immediately be able to receive informational or any other support, of course, if they wish to receive such assistance. Perhaps, if the project is recognized as successful, it will expand to other countries. But so far it is difficult to say when this will happen and whether it will happen at all. So it remains to observe the project in the United States.


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