You deserve to be happy. Some people have won the genetic lottery and are naturally happy. However, for some of us, happiness requires a lot of work. I am a member of the latter group. These are the steps that I had to take to attain happiness.
Step 1: Diagnosis
Step 2: Treatment Determination
- Bipolar Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Step 3: Safety Information
Mediguard can be used to perform safety checks to screen for potential drug-drug and drug-disease interactions.
Step 4: Treatment Tracking
Individuals can then use self-tracking applications and devices to track their treatments.
- My Fitness Pal allows users to track their diet and exercise.
- Medisafe allows users to track their medication consumption.
- Zeo uses electroencephalography (EEG) to track the quality of your sleep.
- Fitbit tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and sleep cycle.
- BodyMedia daily energy expenditure and energy intake using an accelerometer, heat flux sensor, galvanic skin response sensor, skin temperature sensor, and a near-body ambient temperature sensor.
- Moodscope is an online mood-tracking system which enables individuals to accurately measure and record daily mood scores which are automatically tracked on a graph and, with an individual’s agreement, emailed each day to one or more trusted friends who have agreed to keep an eye on the user. It is based on a previously well-validated daily mood measure, the PANAS (Watson et al, 1988), which means that mood is measured in an accurate and scientific way.
- FLEX WIRELESS ACTIVITY & SLEEP WRISTBAND tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. At night, it tracks your sleep quality and wakes you silently in the morning.
- Nike+ Fuel Band – Track calories burned, steps taken, and intensity of physical activity. See the progress in real time on band’s LED display or on the mobile app. Data is synced to the mobile app (via Bluetooth) or computer (via USB cable). Compete with friends, and receive achievement and rewards. The band is easily adjustable to fit a wrist of any size. Operates on 2 standard lithium batteries.
- Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor
Step 5: Biometric Monitoring to Identify Adverse Events
Since safety is of critical importance in any self-experimentation, individuals should engage in the rigorous tracking of their vital signs to identify if they drift outside acceptable ranges. Any treatments that produce unacceptable side effects should be immediately terminated. This will allow for safe self-experimentation.
- The Withings Smart Blood Pressure Monitor provides easy and precise self-measurement of your blood pressure and heart rate.
- The Zephyr HxM Bluetooth Wireless Heart Rate Sensor for Android and Windows Phone 8 or the Zephyr HxM Smart Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone 4S, iPad (3rd Gen) & iPhone 5 with Bluetooth Smart (4.0) in conjunction with the app My Fitness Companion can track your pulse to identify if it drifts outside acceptable ranges.
- Tinké can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen saturation to quantify cardiorespiratory wellness.
- The Zephyr BioHarness is pretty damn expensive, but it can provide an electrocardiogram (ECG), determine one’s R-R interval, breathing rate, monitor posture, activity level, and measure peak acceleration.
- Heartmath 6400 Inner Balance Sensor for iOS is an innovative approach to improving wellness through training, education, and self-monitoring. InnerBalance shows you your heart rhythm pattern (HRV), a breathing pacer to go along with your heart rhythms, and on-screen coaching – training you how to change your physiology to a healthier, coherent state.
Step 6: Tracking the Effectiveness of Treatments
- Moodscope – Moodscope is an entirely service-user-developed online mood-tracking and feedback tool with built-in social support, designed to stabilize and improve mood.
- MoodiModo – MoodiModo is currently available as a beta on Google Play.
Step 7: Integrate and Analyze Your Data to Find Out What Works
Quantimodo can help by synergizing, visualizing, and analyzing the cacophony data to identify correlations between specific input factors and treatments (independent variables) and mood outcomes (dependent variables). The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient derived from an XY scatterplot of input behaviors and output states can quantify the effectiveness of various treatments.
The human mind is not powerful enough to keep track of the countless factors that go into producing an emotional state. Timeline graphical analysis can help to identify potential confounding uncontrolled variables that may be contaminating the results of an experiment.
Fine-grained, personalized minimum effective dosages can be established. Degrees of drug tolerance and withdrawal symptoms can be quantified. By integrating the area under the mood curves, true cost-benefit analyses weighing therapeutic benefits against adverse effects can be performed.
Crowdsourcing Positive Psychology Research
Data can be anonymized and aggregated with the data from other users suffering from the same subtype of mental illness. Effectiveness rates can then be extrapolated from user data. The best available defense against the possibility of spurious results due to confounding is often to dispense with efforts at stratification and instead conduct a randomized study of a sufficiently large sample taken as a whole, such that all potential confounding variables (known and unknown) will be distributed by chance across all study groups and hence will be uncorrelated with the binary variable for inclusion/exclusion in any group. Over time, this data collection can recursively improve the accuracy of the presented effectiveness rates for the various treatments.
Eventually, genetic information provided by services such as 23andMe will help predict not only an individual patient’s response to some medications but also the likelihood of drug interactions and adverse effects.
The End of Mental Illness
Adequate exercise, diet, and sleep in conjunction with appropriate pharmacological measures and other treatments can and will eradicate mental illness from the face of the earth. All we need is our will and the scientific method.