Life can get tough. Sometimes people struggle through situations that are out of their control, such as the unexpected death of a loved one. Others are dealing with situations that appear to be of their own making, like the friend who is still in the unhealthy relationship. The human experience is based on biology, psychology and social factors. A person living with Depression might experience the symptoms for any one or a combination of those factors. Biologically, the brain does not produce enough Serotonin. Psychologically, the person might experience low self-esteem or trauma. Socially, the person might encounter a sudden, unexpected challenge, anything from infertility to a job loss to the death of a loved one.
We know that people who had difficult experiences in childhood are more likely to struggle as adults. That struggle doesn’t stop at traditional mental health or substance abuse conditions. It extends into chronic medical conditions. These patterns also extend beyond what people tend to think of as “a rough childhood.” They aren’t limited to abuse and neglect. They include absent parents due to high stress work or social circumstances or chronic illnesses. We know that while children are resilient, they will find a way to survive, it catches up with them later in life. When it does, it often looks like Depression, Anxiety, Substance Abuse, Obesity, Diabetes, and so on.
We also know that with medical conditions people do not seek preventive care as often as would be impactful on the whole healthcare systems. The same is even truer when it comes to behavioral health conditions. Even though we can predict future behavioral health conditions in childhood, people often struggle on their own for decades into adulthood before getting help. This presents two big problems. One problem is that it is more costly to wait until the crisis point, similarly to how much more expensive it is to get care from the emergency room than from the primary care physician. The second issue is the damage that is done to the person’s health through the continuation of unhealthy patterns. Much like a a second stroke causes further damage to the brain, a relapse with substance abuse or eating disorder causes additional damage to the brain structures those patterns emerge from. Neuroscience tells us that the more we behave in any way, good, bad or indifferent, the more ingrained that behavior, and the brain processes that produce that behavior, becomes. Each time the thought process occurs, it get deeper ingrained into our patterns and hard to change.
Our technology allows for the monitoring of biological, psychological and social pattern changes so that we can prevent problems from arising or intervene early when problems do arise. We can help prevent someone from moving from stress to distress with the tools and services we provide. If someone is already experiencing distress we can help them move back toward stress and on to thriving rather than escalating up to acute.