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ChatGPT must never be regarded as a panacea for mental health
By Disha Ganguli  |  Oct 04, 2023
ChatGPT must never be regarded as a panacea for mental health
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ChatGPT and its ilk of new chatbots might seem at first glance to present a blanket solution to mental health disorders, but to presume their suitability and reliability is dangerously ingenuous and fails to regard their downside. AI and Big Data journalist Disha Ganguli reports.

KOLKATA - The concept of one-size-fits-all takes a backseat when it comes to mental health. For as long as humans have existed, one of their most desperate searches has been for peace of mind, which at times today gets labeled as a relic of a bygone era, especially with the rise of industrialization and now digitalization, eras in which the human mind has been made to function more like a machine. From relying on machines to mimicking them, the journey has given rise to artificial intelligence (AI), which has delivered wonders in all existing fields.

AI’s contributions are felt most strongly in medicine and health. While AI has proven its adequacy in the medical field, its presence in the domain of mental health is still a matter of debate. Most notably, it is often blamed for lacking the human touch of warmth and empathy, and many users complain it causes more harm than good. ChatGPT - a type of generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) - is the most famous recent example of this, and it is also a source of much of today’s controversy in mental health. Many parents have reported that ChatGPT has inhibited their children’s thinking, while mental health professionals view it as a potential threat to their patients.  

ChatGPT over-reliance

Recently, a popular TikTok user told his viewers he quit seeking therapy from humans because he found a more affordable alternative in ChatGPT, and advised them to do the same. The video sparked controversy among mental health professionals, seemingly putting them in a pickle. Constant use of ChatGPT as people experienced emotional lows reportedly increased their screentime. Many received sound answers on anxiety issues and depression, but even more also received overgeneralized answers too vague to help with their problems. This is apparently what a therapy session with ChatGPT looks like.


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