Studies found that more than 1 in 5 U.S. adults suffered with depression during the last few years.

This number is over three times higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diagnosis and treatment for depression is often the same for everyone, therapy and anti-depressants are usually prescribed.

That is why researchers are working on a more personalized approach.

“For me it was having no energy, no motivation,” said Robert Mason, Struggling with No Energy or Motivation.

Isolation from the pandemic is just one trigger for depression. Other triggers include genetics, lifestyle, lack of sleep or exercise, and poor diet.

Neuroscientists are using smart phones to create a more personalized approach to treat depression.

“We can get to know more about how a person is going about their daily lives,” said Jyoti Mishra, PHD, MBA, Neuroscientist at UCSD.

Patients check in on an app three to four times a day for one month through their smart watch.

Researchers track sleep patterns, activity levels, diet, and aspects related to stress such as heart rate, stress, brain activity, and breathing.

“We would see things like how they slept, or consistently determining their depression. And for the very next person we would see aspects of how active they were,” said Dr. Mishra.

Insight that helps doctors predict what triggers depression for each person and then get to the root of their problem.

“If I were to observe that a person’s depression is determined by their sleep, then in the next phase what we’re going to do is provide that person evidence-based sleep treatment and another person might get evidence based physical activity training,” said Dr. Mishra.

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A personalized approach to a problem that is serious for so many.