A middle aged man suffering from clinical depression walks towards his desk in a daze. The stress caused by his mental condition is surfacing, and he can feel the anxiety increasing his heart rate. He picks up a pair electronic bud and places them near his ear. Using his smartphone, he selects the amount of electrical energy required for a calm vibe, and sits back and lets electricity jolt his brain back to being calm. A world where conditions affecting the brain and the nervous system can be treated without surgery lies ahead, with the advent of devices that use electrons to alter your mental state.
Innovative efforts are now being focused towards devices that can change you mood using harmless electrical current. Aiding people who suffer from debilitating circumstances as a result of their mental conditions, is the driving force behind this innovation. One such example is Thync, which uses two electrodes that are place behind your ears, and are connected to your smartphone. By adjusting the current voltage and the ambient mood requested, Thync uses a form of transcranial direct current simulation (TCDS) that zaps the nerves under your skin. Based on the magnitude and duration of time electricity is jolted through your nerves, and your mood can range from energetic and fresh, to calm and content.
So far, psychoactive technology has been external, ranging from calming music, to sound waves that are meant to lead into a meditative state. On the other hand, this type of mood altering device has the advantage of guaranteeing a change in mental state. For instance, if a person has a large conference to attend and is someone who generally has stage fright, they can jolt themselves into a relaxed state of mind to help relieve the anxiety.
Apart from helping people deal with particularly stressful situations, mood altering devices can also be used to treat mental illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For instance, a war veteran who has a limp and gets anxious in loud environments can use a mood altering device to put his mind, suffering from war related trauma, at ease.
Another exciting application is the treatment of diseases like Parkinson’s without the use of strong drugs or potentially damaging brain surgery. Mood altering devices can also be used to treat people afflicted with lifestyle diseases like hypertension and other cardiac issues. Hypertensive patients can control their blood pressure by using the device whenever they feel that their stress levels are too high, helping them reduce the damage that could otherwise be caused.
Psychoactive technology is a novel method that not only has multiple applications in healthcare, but can also improve the overall quality of human life, helping people deal with stress and everyday tension. What are your thoughts on the future of psychoactive technology? Please share your comments in the section below.