Can Telemedicine Help Patients with Depression

Many people suffer from depression in this world due to stress and a variety of reasons. People who suffer from depression experience a decline in their mental and physical health. Depression is a leading cause of death and disability across the world. Almost one in ten Americans are affected by depression, and half of them don’t even get proper treatment as told by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. “When depression goes untreated, it’s often because people can’t overcome issues with mobility, travel distance, transportation costs or time off work – all of which may be addressed by telemedicine.”

If people do not get treatment at the right time, depression can lead to mobility issues and other problems in the body. Therefore, it is essential to deal with and treat depression in the beginning; otherwise, it can lead to several issues.

What is Telemedicine?

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Telemedicine is an alternative to traditional treatment. It is a practice to diagnose and treat patients from a distance without meeting them in person. The modern technologies have enabled physicians to consult patients, diagnose their illnesses, and also prescribe medicine through telecommunication.

It is an alternative treatment to treat patients from depression and other mental conditions. Patients can connect with a psychiatrist or a mental health professional via phone call, teleconference, or video conference to discuss their problems and get treatment. Doctors also do it by using video conferencing software and a computer or mobile device.

The technology will help overcome patients from the barriers that prevent them from seeking treatment. Telemedicine is presently available for relationship counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication management, and post-hospital care.

How is telemedicine used for depression?

Physicians and mental health professionals use high definition video conferencing to create a similar real experience for the patient as they are meeting the doctor in person. Doctors and psychiatrists use the techniques for the treatment of depression in patients and offering advice to patients.

There are several ways to use telemedicine for the treatment of depression in patients. The most basic method is to conduct a simple video call, as we usually do with our friends and communicate with the physician. However, with the improvements in technology, some countries are shifting to HIPAA complaint conference tools for telemedicine. Many telemedicine companies are also offering this type of simple and secure solution to doctors and service providers.

Some practitioners also conduct telemedicine with portable kits, including a computer and mobile devices such as Electro Cardio Graphs or vital signs monitors. Physicians also use high definition digital cameras to send detailed images of diagnosis to specialists.

Using secure web messages and video-conference applications, people dealing with depression can send a message to their doctor or mental health professional for getting private care at their homes. However, patients will still need to visit their psychiatrists but for limited visits, and their primary care physician can manage the entire treatment plan.

Moreover, there are many telemedicine software available that allow video conferencing as well as data storage. Every physician uses specific software they feel comfortable to use for communication and treatment of patients.

Is telemedicine effective for depression?

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According to research by medical institutions, it is proven that telemedicine is effective in the treatment of depression. As per the research performed by the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, telemedicine has offered good results in the treatment of depression.

They conducted the study on 241 patients of depression and treated some of them with telemedicine and offered personal care to others for an entire year. At the end of one year of treatment, they found no significant difference in the relief from symptoms or satisfaction level of patients.

Based on the results of research and studies, telemedicine is considered a highly relevant method of treatment for depression. Researches and physicians consider telemedicine as an effective method for the treatment of rural patients and those who live in remote locations.

The results of telemedicine are similar to that obtained in case of in-person treatments. The satisfaction levels of patients and quality of life were similar to conventional treatment.

Advantages of telemedicine for patients

Using telemedicine for the treatment of depression and other mental health care provide plenty of benefits to patients as well as physicians.

Convenience – Mental health care requires long term treatment. Telemedicine allows patients to engage and communicate with a physician without disrupting their daily schedule. It saves time and transportation costs for patients who can otherwise add up if they need weekly visits to their doctor.

Access – As there is a shortage of mental health physicians in most parts of the world, telemedicine can enable doctors to see more patients per day and serve people from wider geographic areas.

Privacy – Mental health problems like depression are considered bad in some cultures, and some patients don’t want to be seen visiting a clinic that offers mental health care services. By using telemedicine, patients don’t need to leave the privacy and comfort of their homes. So there is no risk of other people knowing about the treatment.

Comfort – Overcoming depression and related mental health problems is challenging and uncomfortable. It can be easier for some patients, to open up and communicate with doctors in the privacy of their homes.

Consistency –Mental health treatment requires consistency to be effective. By providing a platform for communication between patients and physicians, they can communicate on flexible schedules. Moreover, telemedicine can help them to communicate regularly and allow for immediate renewal of prescriptions and medications.

Some tips for patients

Patients dealing with depression can also do try other things for relief. The environment in which people live has a significant effect on their mental health. Making some lifestyle changes like going for morning walk, repaint the walls in sober colors and consume fresh fruits and vegan diet can help them heal faster. Colors of the walls can help patients come out from depression. Painters in Annangrove offer attractive painting quotes Annangrove to attract customers looking to repaint their homes.

Final Words

Telemedicine is a great alternative to conventional treatment for patients suffering from depression and other mental health disorders. With the availability of telemedicine in many countries enable the patients to seek treatment without any guilt or shame from the comfort of their homes.

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Emily Bartels

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