These days, there is an ever-increasing number of people acquiring iPhones. This means that the convenience of ready access to an app that helps patients find out more about self-care can be a boon to both the patient and the doctor.
The following are my selection of apps that in my experience, patients have found useful.
1. Mood and anxiety diary: £1.99
This app uses the cognitive behaviourial therapy principle that the way we think affects the way we feel and behave. It allows patients to track their mood and anxiety over time and identify any triggers affecting their emotional state. These can then be targeted by way of therapy. Patients can rate their anxiety and mood, and write additional personal notes, which can serve as a basis for discussion or be emailed for inclusion in their notes.
2. Relax and Sleep Well, by Glen Harrold: Available free
A 27-minute self-hypnosis recording that is designed to help alleviate stress and anxiety, and promote good sleep.
This is an excellent app to recommend to patients who are struggling to sleep. It combines powerful hypnotherapy techniques with the latest recording technology and stereo effects (best appreciated while using headphones).
3. Universal Breathing - Pranayama Free, by Saagara: Available free
Apparently, most of us do not breathe correctly, and breathing too shallowly or quickly is associated with increased anxiety. This app, based on yoga principles, contains a course designed to promote slower, deeper breathing. The authors claim that just 15 minutes a day can reduce stress and stress-related illness. It is also good to calm you down after a difficult consultation.
4. Freedom from Fears and Phobias, by Darren Marks: £1.49
Another great self-hypnosis app, this addresses fears and phobias using hypnotherapy techniques of visualisation and suggestion. It also contains a relaxation session designed to enhance the phobia session.
With repeated use, many of my patients have found this excellent. Darren has also produced a number of sessions for specific phobias, such as fear of heights and injections.
5. iPeriod Ultimate: £1.49
A free 'lite' version of this menstrual calendar is also available. It allows women to track their cycle and provides an estimate of ovulation time and the most fertile days of the cycle. You can also record related data, such as mood. There is also a fertility section, where data on cervical fluid and position can be entered and stored. This is a useful adjunct to the consultation when dealing with menstrual and fertility problems and great for encouraging patients to engage in self-management.
- Dr Croton is a GP in Birmingham