Depression is a serious psychological disorder that affects millions of people in the U.S. alone. Within a year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that about 16 million adults will have suffered a major depressive episode.
Depression can lead to changes in behavior, physical health, and appetite, and induce feelings of hopelessness. Getting help early and often can make a difference. The following apps may be able to help as part of a broader treatment plan.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one approach to managing depression and other mental health problems. This app helps you monitor your moods with an assessment test that tracks the severity of your depressed moods and provides several resources aimed at educating you about the flawed thought patterns that may be worsening your depression. There are also audio programs for relaxation and depression assistance.
Exercise can ease the symptoms of depression, and FitnessBuilder is a great way to develop a regular exercise habit. The free version of this app features more than 400 workouts and a 16-week plan. Search by target area or goal to strengthen your legs, core, or build up endurance. There are photos and videos to help you learn and perform the moves safely, as well as tracking features to monitor your progress.
Health Through Breath
Stress contributes to many symptoms of ill health, including depression. Health Through Breath is one app that attempts to soothe your mind and body through relaxation. According to the app’s makers, relaxation techniques can have benefits for people who have depression as well as migraines, high blood pressure, asthma, and more. It features guided, slow breathing techniques to help you learn to relax deeply and quickly.
MoodKit is stuffed with mood improvement tools, including activities to boost your outlook immediately, a thought checker to monitor your moods, and a journal for you to help work through your emotions. The app works with your iOS calendar and can be synced with your social media accounts. We like that there’s the option to track your moods quickly and refer back using weekly or monthly charts.
NIH Depression Information
Maybe your depression diagnosis is new, and you want to learn more about it. The NIH Depression Info app comes from the National Institutes of Health, with answers to many of the questions you might ask your doctor. Those include: symptoms, causes, treatments, and information about related conditions like bipolar disorder. There’s also a feature for finding the best help options for you or a loved one who is suffering from depression.
Operation Reach Out
When that feeling of hopelessness is at its greatest, people who have depression need help more than ever. The Operation Reach Out app can provide that help. Download the app and store emergency contact information in it. Then, when you feel at your lowest, you can easily contact help. The app also comes with preloaded numbers to suicide prevention hotlines and several helpful videos.
Positive Activity Jackpot
The temptation to stay indoors and crawl under the covers can be intense when you suffer from depression. Getting out into the world and enjoying social activities, however, is often precisely what the doctor would order. The Positive Activity Jackpot helps you break free of this introverted inclination and offers suggestions for nearby activities. We like that the app makes a game of something that a depressed individual might otherwise dread.
The things we surround ourselves with certainly have the potential to affect our moods. Positive Thinking is an app that provides a massive collection of positive quotes to help you keep your mind on good things rather than worries and stress. You can add to the collection, store your favorites, and share the quotes on social media.
Psych Drugs & Medications
Medication is often used in the treatment of depression, and sometimes several medications have to be tried before you and your doctor settle on one that will provide the most benefits and the least side effects. That’s where this app comes in. It features a catalogue of mental health drugs and all of their details. Search for your new medication and find potential interactions, side effects, dosage details, and more.
Secret of Happiness
Sometimes, our brains need help breaking out of a destructive cycle. The Secret of Happiness is designed to give you a regular schedule of positive thinking as a way to train your brain to think more on the bright side. No one would suggest the cure to depression is as simple as turning your frown upside down, but this app can help you get in the practice of thinking positively. We like that the app asks for a 30-day commitment – enough time to develop a new habit.
Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is important to keeping the symptoms of depression at bay. Sleep Cycle is one of the best sleep management apps available, analyzing your sleep to determine when you are in deep sleep or light sleep. It uses this information to wake you up when you will be least prone to still feeling tired, and most prone to feeling well rested. Don’t worry about missing an important appointment – you set your alarm as you normally would, and it will wake you at the best moment somewhere in the 30 minutes leading up to your deadline.
Adults aren’t the only ones who struggle with depression, and the makers of Smiling Mind had all age groups in mind when developing this app. Designed to teach you the value of guided meditation, the app features several free meditation programs, classified according to the ages they’re appropriate for, with sessions appropriate for those younger than seven years old and into adulthood. We like the ability to track total minutes spent in meditation and earn achievements.
When you’re depressed, it can be difficult to see just how your condition is affecting you, and just what risks you might be facing because of it. WhatsMyM3 gives users a three-minute assessment of their depression. Answer a series of questions and the app returns a sort of risk report. Monitor your score over time and use it when you check in with your doctor.