The researchers argue that people who think they have recovered are likely to have depressive symptoms again. It is evident from the tendency to use absolutists terms and first person singular pronouns even when there is no depression.
The bottom line
Depression affects language and people with depressive symptoms speak and write differently. They are more focused on themselves and less connected with the world, which influences their thinking and hence spoken and written language.
The study offered new insights that can help mental health experts better diagnose and understand people with anxiety and depression. More research is needed using the right technology to pin down the exact relationship between depression and language.
It feels amazing to see the practical implications of this valuable research. Experts can combine automated analysis with machine learning to evaluate the natural language text samples such as Facebook or blog posts and use the results to classify a variety of mental health conditions.
As more and more data is generated, it will become easier to consider broad patterns of negative emotion words, absolutism, rumination, and so on. In the next few years, improvement in machine learning algorithms will lead to better classification of different mental health problems and even subcategories.
Al-Mosaiwi, M., & Johnstone, T. (2018). In an absolute state: Elevated use of absolutist words is a marker specific to anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Clinical Psychological Science, 2167702617747074.