Hi, I am wondering if there are tools to quantify data about mental illnesses? I see there are mood trackers but also looking for something to track symptoms of mental illness (in particular symptoms of bi-polar/schizophrenia) and also track side effects of medications. I am a patient of psychiatry and I am sure my psychiatric team would love to hear ideas for how to track these things. Any info would be appreciated.
Also, just wanted to add, I am particularly interested in automated data, possibly from a fitness band/smartwatch etc.
Here are some things you can track that might be relevant to the psychiatric team:
When you took what medication (most people don’t take their medication as prescribed). There are some “smart” pill boxes, but using a general-purpose tracking app like Trackthisforme or Nomie is an option, too.
When you went to bed, and when you got up. Most fitness trackers let you record this, and there are specialized devices like the Beddit and Emfit QS if you’d rather not wear a tracker while sleeping.
Were you sitting at home all day, or active. Any fitness tracker will do, or an app like Moves.
How are your feeling. There are mood-tracking apps like MoodPanda, but you can also use a general-purpose tracking app (see above). There’s research into detecting mood from your voice, but nothing that’s available yet, as far as I know.
My positive symptoms are pretty stable but do seem very correlated to negative moods. I have just started using a mood tracker Daylio and like it a lot since it gives me some hope and perspective on days when I am not feeling well.
Also…Although doctors don’t generally talk about money issues, financial tracking tools like Quicken and Mint are very important as part of my stress management since I tend to fret when I owe money.
I would say managing any mental illness is mostly about qualitative changes though: having a safe environment, reasonable responsibilties, good relationships, basic living skills, curbing addictive behaviors, setting realistic goals, and simply waiting a very long time.
Here is a typical list of questions I use to assess my own wellness (I rate it from 1=never to 5=always)
I take care of my own laundry
I limit my caffeine intake.
I stretch and have good flexibility.
I enjoy activities with friends.
I exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
I limit carbohydrates in my diet.
I exercise with a friend or family member
I look for ways to increase my income.
I don’t eat a large meal before I go to bed
I do not rush when I speak or eat.
I avoid spending money on impulse.
I eat fruits and vegetables every day.
I don’t sit for very long periods of time.
I don’t wake up frequently during the night
I take a nap once a day.
I keep in contact with my friends.
I clean my house
I do not swear a lot.
I remember to take my medicine.
I take my medication the way my doctor prescribed it
I wear appropriate clothing.
I fit exercise into my everyday activities
I have time to be quiet each day.
I drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day
I care about looking neat and presentable.
I say no to others.
I avoid arguments over trivial matters.
I am able to tolerate my medicine.
I feel I would rather be with other people than by myself
I don’t have bad dreams or nightmares
I am similar to other people in many ways.
I have good relationships with my family members.
I am comfortable talking to my doctors
I avoid adding salt to my food at the table
I don’t have trouble getting to sleep
I feel comfortable being around other people.
I keep my home uncluttered.
I help others.
I prepare my own food
I eliminate time wasting activities from my daily routine.
I have reasonable responsibilities.
I avoid accusing, teasing or insulting others.
I have people in my life that I can trust.
I get out of bed in the morning as soon as I wake up
I eat foods that are low in fat.
I handle loss realistically.
I include high fiber foods in my diet
I use a reminder system for taking my medicine
I handle minor irritations calmly.
I feel comfortable talking to people
I attend to my personal hygiene needs
I avoid sweets and desserts
I avoid fried foods.
I accomplish things despite having anxiety.
I watch very little TV
I am alert during the daytime
I vary my diet by eating different foods
I give myself credit for completing tasks.
I am respectful of others.
I am interested in making new friends.
My health is my first priority.
I have good posture.
I don’t complain often.
I get my prescriptions filled by myself
I keep a diary, done list or journal.
I use humor in my daily life.
I am learning new skills everyday
I buy my own food at a store