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February 22, 2012 at 11:47 AMComments: 6 Faves: 0

Treating Depression: There's an App for That!

By Brad Plaggemars More Blogs by This Author

"There's an app for that!" Everyone has either seen or heard the famous line from Apple advertising the amount of applications available for the Apple iPhone. There are apps for games, social networks, watching movies, and much more, but what if there was an app to treat disorders like depression? Well, such apps are already in the process of being developed.

Janice Wood, in her article "Harnessing Smartphones, Apps to Beat Depression" says that researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine are currently working on multiple web-based, mobile, and virtual technologies to help treat depression and other related disorders.

Psychologist Dr. David Mohr, who is also the director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies and a professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg, says, "We’re inventing new ways technology can help people with mental health problems. The potential to reduce or even prevent depression is enormous."

Mohr explains that the apps could offer new treatment options for those who are unable to receive traditional treatment or find traditional treatment uncomfortable. "They also can be offered at significantly lower costs, which makes them more viable in an era of limited resources," explains Mohr.

Products in Production

The most popular item in production is a smartphone that'll be able to detect symptoms of depression. The phone will learn your usual patterns of use, which will allow it to sense whether you may be isolated and will suggest a number to call or to see your friends. The technology is called "Mobilyze!" and is still in the development stages. However, the researchers did a small test that helped reduce symptoms of depression.

Additional projects that are also in production include a virtual human therapist who will be able to help prevent depression in teens, an alarm clock-like app that'll flash a picture of a pill bottle, reminding the person to take their antidepressant medication, and a social network meant to help cancer survivors deal with stress and sadness.


Photo Credit:

Florin Hatmanu

Sean MacEntee

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  • a virtual humane therapist? that might be fun.

  • Very interesting blog, Brad!

    Not sure I'd like my phone yelling at me to be more social though... ;p lol

  • Thanks!

  • I swear there is an app for everything now. haha.

    I kind of agree with Erin on this one. For me, a phone telling me to go be social wouldn't work. I would probably need an actual person telling me that. But I am sure this works for other people!

  • Also, great blog, Brad, such a great topic to bring up! very timely and current!

  • Thank you! It was really fun to write about!

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