Somewhere between 11 percent and 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars now have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). In light of these statistics, the VA has developed an iPhone app to help inform vets and others about PTSD.
The app, called PTSD Coach, offers reliable information on PTSD and treatments right on a patients phone. The app offers tools to screen and track symptoms while offering direct links to help if a user needs it. The app also provides tips and easy-to-use skills to handle stress symptoms in the moment. While the app’s surveys and checklists are valid self-reporting measures, the app is intended for use in conjunction with professional care.
PTSD Coach could also be helpful to family and caregivers of people with PTSD, according to the VA. The department plans to offer a PTSD Family Coach app in the future too. The current app is free to download from the iTunes store and an Android release is slated for June.
PTSD Coach was created by the VA's National Center for PTSD and the DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology. The NCTT was also behind a similar smartphone application, called T2 Mood Tracker, that helps members of the military who have been deployed track their mood and stress levels. The T2 app specifically tracks anxiety, depression, general well-being, life stress, post traumatic stress and brain injury. Users can also correlate changes to their medication regimen or home or work environment to changes in their moods. The tracking data can help physicians and therapists observe trends and provide treatment instead of relying solely on patient recall.