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Mental Illness? There's and App for that!

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posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:02 AM

Schizophrenia is a leading cause of disability in the United States: About 3.5 million Americans have the disease, with most people developing it between their late teens and early 20s. The roots of the disease aren't completely understood, but it includes a genetic component. Half of all those diagnosed with the disease will never receive any treatment.

Treatment has long focused on antipsychotic medications and on really difficult-to-treat symptoms, Schlosser said. Instead, she wanted to focus on improving people's quality of life, encouraging and inspiring those patients.
As head of the university's Digital Research and Interventions for Volitional Enhancement, or DRIVE, lab, she and her team saw social networking as a potential tool to connect people who felt isolated.

Schlosser said the contributors were instrumental to the app's success. "I was so immersed in the science, I hadn't thought about the experience, and that was a real failure." Instead, they humanized Prime, thinking about it as a friend: What did they want in a friend? In a support system?

She said the work has reminded her to think of patients as people first. "It might seem basic, but if our goal is to improve people's lives, it can't be just about treating symptoms but treating the whole person. That might look like talking to the patients about who they are and what they want instead of diving into what's wrong."

CNN Article

Holy crap! Someone is working on a treatment technique that doesn't involve pills!

I just came across this and can totally relate. I'm on disability and I am extremely physically and socially isolated. I've been diagnosed with Bipolar 1, Severe PTSD and Severe Anxiety Disorder with Agoraphobia. I used to be 'normal' and my illnesses all hit in 2011. Thank God I've been asymptomatic with the Bipolar since 2012 (birth control cured my symptoms- if you're a female with Bipolar feel free to PM me for the details). But everything else is full force, and being a chemical imbalance, doesn't show any signs of getting better.

I don't have many friends, and the ones I do have I don't want to bother with my problems. I don't want to be 'that guy' that's always calling them up being the complaining whine bag. But on the other hand, an anxiety attack can linger for up to 2 weeks and here I am sitting here stewing in it.

Medication helps but doesn't cure anything. It's like throwing a blanket over the symptoms.

I would LOVE to work again. But it would have to be part time, with minimal stress, no loud noises, no flashing lights, no sudden movement. I found a job about a year ago that I thought would work. I filled out the application and was honest about my disability. They called me, asked me a million questions about my disability for like, 30 minutes....then never called me in for an interview. Needless to say that was pretty depressing.

I really feel sorry for people with schizophrenia, and I always have. As bad as my illnesses are at least I'm not hallucinating. It's really cool that this App seemed to help the participants, and I wonder if something similar could do some good for someone like me.

I guess the purpose of this thread is to inform people about this interesting new therapeutic technique, and maybe get the 'normal' people to think about the struggle us 'crazy' people have to deal with every day. But also, just curious, do any of you have an illness that something like this could help? I would think that even people with more physically presenting illnesses like MS or cancer could benefit from a knowledgeable support system.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:06 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

An estimated 50 million people in the U.S. are disabled. The source opens up by saying schizophrenia is a "leading cause of disability in the US", then goes on to say only 3.5 million people suffer from the disease. That's less than 1% of the population.

Still, it is cool the app sounds like it helps!

I'm sorry you have been struggling, we're happy to have you on ATS sharing your experience and knowledge

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:16 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

But on the other hand, an anxiety attack can linger for up to 2 weeks and here I am sitting here stewing in it.

Thats the primary cause of anxiety attack, stewing. Imo, if people keep turning something over in their head, building it out of proportion, feeding the energy of it, making it palpable, it can effect real world environment, cause real physical problems with self and others.

The practice and habit of doing this over the years of our lives is habit forming, actually enjoying worrying. The key is to practice letting go, catch ourselves , trying to distance our self from these episodes, by catching our thought patterns early in the cycle.

That takes as much practice over time as it took to become so anxiety ridden in the first place, Unpracticing anxiety isn't about taking mind numbing drugs to keep us 'calm', but unlearning what we have learned over a life time. One layer at a time.

Through meditation, not medication.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:23 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

ADHD/ADD is a big one I see,

I understand it has to do with attention deficiencies.

The funny thing is, most people with this disorder feed it with the use of Smart Phones and other technologies.

There is debate for if new age technology causes some of these disorders, but im positive this tech only adds to the problem.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:24 AM
a reply to: FamCore

Haha! I didn't catch that statistic discrepancy. It does say "A leading cause" not "THE leading cause" and it also doesn't specify that 'disability' means 'on disability' as in receiving government support. There are many levels of disability. Some people are fortunate enough to function fairly normally.

It also says that half diagnosed will not receive treatment. This means that those that are not treated are not receiving government support, because trust me, it's a huge pain in the ass to actually get disability payments. It takes at least 2 years and at least 1 appeal- with a lawyer, and all your supporting paperwork and agreement by THEIR doctor and a judge.

Sadly, a portion of the homeless population is schizophrenic. (some are people down on their luck, some just prefer to live without rules) I dealt with that a lot as a police officer. They're hallucinating and out of touch with reality. You take them to the hospital, then see them out 3 days later doing the same thing. I APOWW'd (trip to mental hospital) Theodore Roosevelt 2 times in one month after he kept setting fires to dumpsters. The second time he had an eye infection so bad I was afraid he'd go blind. It's an effing revolving door, and these poor people aren't even capable of knowing that they need help. But that's a really extreme case, I don't think an App is going to do anything for someone like that.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:30 AM
a reply to: intrptr

You are totally right. It's a catch 22, you stew because you have anxiety and you have anxiety because you stew.

Some people don't believe mental illness has a physical basis. I guarantee you it does. And when your intellectual mind has little to no control over your physical/chemical mind...well, you're left having to dope it into submission.

Like with me- I will try to force myself not to dwell, to distract myself with other things. And the thoughts are intrusive. They keep me awake at night. I wake up in the middle of the night worrying. I wake up worrying. They come back over and over throughout the day.

I'm pregnant right now, so I can't take it, but my anxiety medication is Neurontin. It is actually an anti-seizure medication and it depresses the entire nervous system. I'm counting down the days when I will be able to take it again. It has sucky side effects, but it really helps.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:32 AM
a reply to: frostie

Lol! Yeah, this App may not be the best solution for someone with ADD/ADHD.

Or OCD. Maybe they would compulsively check it all the time.

Maybe an actual physical support group would be better for those folks.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:39 AM
I'm currently on a pretty high dose of Flupentixol for Schizophrenia...
It really does work with my anger issues, but not much of any other symptom.

Olanzopine, Amisulpride & Aripiprazole were similar but had other side effects I couldn't live with.

Maybe an app is the way forward in the techno-gen of the 2010s.

Edit: Thanks for sharing, ladyvalkyrie.
edit on 27-4-2016 by Hazardous1408 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:44 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

Sorry for your suffering, but I feel your pain. I have been diagnosed bipolar a long long time ago also PTSD, but I didn't believe it based on the extremely short and not very thorough interview I had with the doctor. I was prescribed meds, but they only made me feel worse. I ended up stopping them after I wrecked my truck due to my inability to focus while on the meds. Anyway, I've self medicated for something like 40 years now with the only drug that seems to make me feel better - beer...

The doctor also told me I was brain damaged! How's that for a diagnosis after a 5 minute conversation in which I disclosed that I had a bad experience 30 years prior with a certain cocktail of mind altering substances...

I managed to go back to school and finish up my engineering degree with a 3.85 gpa with my damaged brain and now I have a job that pays too much to leave but mostly drains the life out of me. I have regular bouts of panic and borderline delusional episodes that make it so hard to do my job sometimes. I have no alternative though, I have two little kids and a stay at home wife depending on me. My only light at the end of the tunnel is the hope of early retirement if I can ride it out for another 5 years.

Oh yeah, I also have a huge problem with the isolation. I haven't had any close friends since almost 20 years ago when my friend at the time helped me leave my ex only to move in with her the same night. Trust issues I guess.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:53 AM

The roots of the disease aren't completely understood, but it includes a genetic component.

Although every human expression ultimately has some gene responsible for it technically there is no solid evidence for a schizophrenia gene. There may be strong suggestions but it's not like there is a 100% full proof genetic screening test. There might be one day and then the general population might be tested but that isn't the case yet.
edit on 27-4-2016 by johnnyjoe1979 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 10:03 AM
a reply to: johnnyjoe1979

I don't know about genetics causing it, but they have done studies where schizophrenia patients are placed in an MRI or CAT scan:

When they have visual hallucinations, the visual cortex of their brain is actually lighting up with activity. When they have auditory hallucinations, it's actually the auditory part of their brain that's lighting up with activity. It's amazing, but scary. It just proves how real this disorder is to people who suffer from it.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 10:03 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

Like with me- I will try to force myself not to dwell, to distract myself with other things. And the thoughts are intrusive. They keep me awake at night. I wake up in the middle of the night worrying. I wake up worrying. They come back over and over throughout the day.

Good you see it 'coming' from somewhere. The 'not you' I propose. You see the thoughts 'intrude' in you head and the usual response is to entertain it, embrace it, challenge it (fight it). Then its got you…

Try seeing the thought coming and let it run you over without responding. like standing on the tracks when a train is coming, thats really hard to do. You are so practiced to engage, try just looking at it without responding. See it, observe it, remain objective the same objectivity that first saw it 'coming'.

The fear and anxiety in you that arises, see it, observe it, let it wash over you, let it crash against your shore without reacting….

Heres an example, if an intruder breaks into your home and you hide in a closet you are afraid right? He searches the house, growing closer, the fear in you rises, he's right outside the closet door, you want to scream or jump up in panic, but you remain absolutely still and quiet…. apply that.

Begin practicing that, see the thoughts coming and remain absolutely still and quietly letting it wash over you. Hey, they are only thoughts, your anxiety only feelings. Both have only the power you give to them to control you.

You can't fight and don't give in, just observe. Constantly remind yourself to stay in the moment, use your hand as an anchor , when the flood 'comes', sit down, close your eyes and quietly refocus on your hand as many times as it takes to stay in the moment, in the room, not letting yourself be carried away. Its a process by where you slowly become able to detach from the thought stream, more like sitting on the bank of your river of thought, letting it flow by instead of diving in the thought stream… takes time and practice, but little by little, by gently pulling back to the now, remaining in the room thinking of your hand, until the anxiety and the thoughts pass. They will pass.

This will take time as much or more time than developing the worry 'mountain from mole hill' process in the first place. Reverse the process, one (big)little episode at a time.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 10:14 AM
a reply to: wtbengineer

That sucks! But thanks for sharing. My new onset illness was pretty damn obvious and doctors and med staff still effed up big time. I initially was just suffering from a severe manic episode (steroids/sleep deprivation) and went to an ER. They assumed I was a drug addict, ignored me for 2 hours despite a 168/104 BP and when I started yelling on my phone a 6'02" 350# male EMT came charging in the room, tackled me off a bed and put me in a choke hold. Hence the severe PTSD. It took 8 months and a relapse before I finally found a doc to make an accurate diagnosis and put me on the path to correct medication. And it still took about a year to find the proper 'cocktail'.

There's something to be said for 'alternative' medication (beer). I've even chimed in on pro-marijuana threads. It helps just as much as prescription meds and with fewer side effects. Yeah, it makes you 'high', but so do the pills. Basically that's the only way to treat PTSD/ get 'high'. To physically numb your brain.

If you feel like you have a handle on things, great. Keep doing what you're doing. But if not, you really should try to seek out a decent doctor that will put in the effort to listen to you, actually make a proper diagnosis and then hopefully come up with a successful treatment plan. I will warn you: most doctors SUCK. You will have to wade through quite a few to find a good one. I currently drive about an hour and a half one way to see my psychiatrist. She is THAT good. She also works in a clinic that mainly deals with low income/Medicaid type folks. It's like Doctors Without Borders, she's in it to actually help people...not the money. Maybe you can find a clinic like that where the docs are actually trying to help people instead of cash a paycheck.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 10:37 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

Yeah but have you looked at the DSM5 compared to DSM - DSM4? It progresses to slowly make Schizo-insert suffix more and more easily diagnosed with less and less material needed for diagnosis. At this point nearly any Schizo disorder can be diagnosed with nothing more than an irrational phobia of shoelaces.

Note: Not to degrade or detract from those who are actually disabled. Just they are making this diagnosis easy to take advantage of. (Some people just want the SSD check and pills.)
edit on 27-4-2016 by sycomix because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 10:44 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

I have almost no faith whatsoever in modern medicine these days, that's really a horrible thing you went through there. I can relate though, I'll probably never go to an ER again unless I have broken bones or squirting blood. I went a few years ago for panic and paranoid delusions that were making my life hell and they gave me a sedative that didn't really help. They made me feel like they thought I was just there trying to get a prescription. A nurse I talked to there found out that I was on a thyroid hormone that she said used to give her the same symptoms of anxiety, etc. I went to my GP and he prescribed a natural alternative and it seemed to have helped significantly. I still get the occasional bout but it's not as bad.

Years before that I went to the doctor after separating from my ex wife because of severe depression. I was depressed because I hadn't seen my kids in months, it just wasn't what I expected separated life to be I was all alone. Sometimes depression has a cause and medication won't do anything but mask it. Anyway, the doctor asked me if I ever thought about hurting myself and I said yeah, who hasn't? But I'd never really consider it because I want to live too bad. Well, the next thing I knew I was stuck in the mental ward of the hospital trying to convince the doctors I wasn't a suicide risk. IIRC I did convince them but only after spending the night there. They wanted to keep me for three days. I learned my lesson, I'll never answer that question with anything but a resounding "NO".

Sometimes I feel like I have a handle and sometimes not at all. I seem to go through regular cycles. Overall, I'm happy and love living, it's just that most of my life I spend doing things I have to do and not at all what I want to do. Don't like the job but it pays way too much to leave. I have really young kids since I remarried (way younger wife) and spend a lot of time doing the bathing and diapers and all that for the second time in my life, just almost 40 years later. I don't mean to complain, I love my family. Anyway, I agree, most doctors suck. My great uncle was the doctor in town when I was a kid and whatever was wrong with us he'd treat. And he made sure he made us better, didn't just write up a scrip and move on.

I don't think I could ever bring myself to see a psychiatrist again after my experiences with them, I am working on experimental solutions, or rather aids, to my problems that I can't really discuss. Nothing is really a solution. As you said, sometimes the only way to treat it is to numb the brain.

That doc must be good if you go that far to see her. That is not common for a doctor to care at all for patients these days. Now and then you'll see one. I just can't imagine spending all time time and money trying to find someone to help me, I think I'll just keep trying to help myself. Thanks for the reply ladyvalkyrie!

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 11:04 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

I believe that an APP could help with mental illnesses. I have read something about that before. I have struggled with depression /anxiety but have had it under control for the past 10 + years.

Good luck and let us know how the app goes.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 11:45 AM
a reply to: veracity

It's not actually online. If you'll read to the end of the article, you'll see that it was just an experiment and once they shut it down the patients started relapsing.

Plus, this app was specifically for schizophrenics, so I would have to wait for a PTSD/Anxiety specific one.

I was mainly impressed that someone is actually trying to treat the PERSON not just throw pills at it like most docs do.

Or, like in my case, I HATE pills yet I'm constantly being mistaken for a drug seeking addict! I had one doc talk to me for 5 minutes (I was SEVERELY manic and experiencing a SEVERE PTSD episode) and writes as my diagnosis 'benzodiazapine withdrawal'. WTF?? I've never taken Xanax in my life and wouldn't take that crap even if they did prescribe it, the last thing I need is a drug addiction. (can you tell I'm still pissed about that one?) I would love to find a non-pharmaceutical treatment technique. One that I could access more frequently than the psychiatrist visits every 1-4 months. And I'm extremely lucky that my psychiatrist actually listens to me and responds, usually that's the psychologist or counselor's job. Most psychiatrists are straight pill pushers.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 11:56 AM
Not all mental illness is organic...Much is induced. I hate to make wild claims, but the sudden explosion in suicides amongst Veterans and "undesirables"sure makes me think that maybe it is more "cost effective" to talk them to death than it is to try and handle the backlog at the VA and actually help them. That makes it murder...NOT suicide. ADDED BONUS? Life insurance doesn't pay out on suicide. Cost savings ALL the way around! God bless America. So proud of us.

posted on Apr, 30 2016 @ 03:18 AM
a reply to: ladyvalkyrie

Actually MRI, CAT, EEG or PET scans do not prove schizophrenia either.

It may predict:

but there is no test at the moment:

THE CLAIM: Mental illness can be diagnosed with brain scans.
THE FACTS: Currently the technique might be able to diagnose people with a single, unambiguous, chronic illness but not tougher clinical cases.

You can get tested using brain scans for something like alzheimer and many diseases, but not schizophrenia, nor any of the other DSM diagnosis. Which is not scientific or good, since someone can subjectively say a person has a mental illness, but the person cannot disprove this since there is no valid test and who is going to believe the patient.

Diagnoses in psychiatry, however, are based entirely on behavioral, not biological, criteria.

But back on the topic, it's good they have an app for that now.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 12:10 PM
I have paranoid schizophrenia and bi polar.

I spent 10 years in the workforce. I liked working and I enjoyed meeting new people. I was basically forced to go on disability. My illness can be quite severe and I needed a stable income and health insurance. When I was working my illness always got in the way. I had problems holding jobs because of it.

One thing I learned was to never tell my employers about my illness. There is a stigma attached to mental illness. Employers think your a liability if your considered crazy. I hid my illness and I never talked about it. I became quite good at hiding it.

When I'm having a psychosis there's nothing that can bring me out of other then medications. I am dedicated to my medications without them life is miserable. If there came a point I couldn't get my medications I would do myself in rather then suffer another psychosis. I can be dangerous if I'm sick. Not because I want to hurt people but because I think others might want to hurt me. I might have a it's them or me mentality when I'm highly paranoid.

My medications are taking years off my life. They have some really bad side effects and after taking them for 20 years I feel the effects every morning I wake up. It's been 15 years since I've had severe hallucinations and delusions. I appear normal to most people. If you met me on the street you'd never know I have schizophrenia. Thats the tough part because most people tell me theres nothing wrong with me. Every day is struggle though. I work hard at trying to be normal. No one wants others to think their crazy. I just want to be like everyone else.

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