Smartphones Provide Therapist Apps

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"It holds (patients) a lot more accountable, because they know I'm going to be able to see everything they are or aren't doing," Mulcachy said. “The price tag is steep at $79.99, but it may help patients cut back on their more expensive in-person sessions a lot faster.”

Another app developed by University of Texas Medical School psychiatrist Dr. Rakesh Jain helps monitor fluctuating moods. The app known as MoodyMe allows users to take photos depicting a mood such as “manic”, “excellent” and “depressed” while tagging them with a list of relevant words describing the event or action that triggered their mood. Users can also share their photos with friends, list the type of medication they are taking, and use the “Ask a Doctor” feature for advice on a particular condition or disorder. The app comes with graphs illustrating mood patterns.

Since some studies have linked depression to body weight, Dr. Jain recommends that his patients use the BMI by Nutrisystem app to watch their weight. He also advises that they use the LiveHappy app which offers activities that can boost positive thinking including the “Best Possible Self,” the “Gratitude Journal,” and the “Replay Happy Days” activity.

"It is extremely scientifically based and (an) unusually powerful app," Dr. Jain said.

The smartphone market provides apps that help detect disorders such as “depressioncheck” and apps that connect people living with disorders such as “Bipolar Disorder Connect.”

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology, a division of the U.S. Department of Defense has also developed a range of mental illness applications that offer aid to veterans and military members. Apps such as PTSD Coach and Tactical Breather were created in partnership with the VA’s National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to offer information about the condition, as well as tips on anger management and relaxation exercises.

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