About two percent of Americans have some type of psychotic illness.
The disorders cost the U.S. about $23 billion a year.
The majority of patients who are treated will experience a relapse but now, there’s a new app that may help doctors identify patients before they hit rock bottom.
Isaac (name has been changed) is a 20-year-old musician who was diagnosed with schizophrenia a year ago.
“It terrified me,” says Isaac. “I didn’t know if I could talk to any of my friends about it.”
Isaac suffered hallucinations and heard voices in his head.
“When I heard the first voice that started talking to me, that was my scariest moment when I realized, oh, this is something that I can’t just cope with and white knuckle,” says Isaac. “This is something that I need to really get help with.”
He did get help with medication and therapy and, recently, Isaac was also introduced to a new app. Ginger.io is designed to monitor patients with psychosis.
Nearly 80 percent of psychosis patients will relapse within the first five years of diagnosis. Clinical psychologist Tara Niendam from the UC Davis School of Medicine says the new app collects data about the number of texts and phone calls patients make and receive and where they travel in a day.
“[We can see] whether a person is getting up and getting out of the house and going places,” says Niendam.
Doctors can track patients’ patterns on a “dashboard” and see how they are doing daily.
The idea is doctors can contact patients at the first sign of trouble.
“[We use it] to see if we can intervene earlier before they have a relapse or before things get worse,” says Niendam.