Self-tracking against mood disorders

March 13, 2012

We have already talked about tracking your weight, heart rate, sleep or physical activity in order to improve your health… but what about your emotions? Could self-tracking be used to help people who are suffering from mood disorders?

Smartphones that fight depression
One of the most innovative ideas in mood tracking is the development of a new smartphone application that can spot symptoms of depression in its user and take immediate actions to help him. This technology, which has already been tested in a small pilot program, is called “Mobilyze” and it uses data from sensors already embedded in smartphones (such as GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and accelerometers).  That way, the application can track a person’s location, activity level (via the accelerometer), social context and mood. By learning the user’s habit patterns, the smartphone can sense when he or she is isolated and can send suggestions to call or see friends.

Moodtracking against bipolar disorder
In a previous article, we presented some applications that can help you track your mood. Even if mood tracking can be a good idea for anyone to do, it is especially helpful for people suffering from a bipolar disorder. For bipolars, mood variations can reach an extreme level and in severe cases can lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. However,  the changes in mood happen progressively, over hours or days before reaching extreme levels. Therefore, mood tracking can give bipolars a chance to act preventively against these extreme states.

MedHelp’s mood tracker is an advanced mood tracking application that helps its users keep track of daily mood changes, of symptoms associated with their mood and also of their medications and treatments.  They can also view the evolution of their mood over time, keep a diary of events that affect them and even share their diary to receive support and feedback from other users.

Another notable example is MoodTracker.  What is important about that website is that it creates mood charts that show the user’s daily mood level along with their hours of sleep and medications. These charts can not only help people understand better the effectiveness of their own treatment, but also gather all the important information so that it can be shared easily with caregivers.

If you are interested in tracking moods or emotions, you can check this very practical guide to find the tool that suits you best!

So what do you think? Can someone deal with their mood disorder by tracking their mood and sharing their observations with people that are going through the same?


Susie Felber

Susie is a writer and producer who has worked in nearly every medium. As the daughter of a hard-working M.D., she's had a lifelong interest in health and is proud that she continues to lower her 5k time as she ages.
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