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Apps that Improve Memory for People with Schizophrenia

People diagnosed with schizophrenia often have trouble functioning in society. Hallucinations and delusions make it difficult to understand reality, thought disorders can disrupt  logical reasoning, and memory impairment can make completing everyday tasks impossible.

Psychotic symptoms can be treated effectively with medication, but drugs successfully treating cognitive impairments have been elusive.

People with schizophrenia often can’t remember where they parked the car or where they put their keys. Those type of impairments make holding a job and living alone difficult, and providing for the care of these individuals has proved costly to society.

This is why I find that apps that were developed to improve the memory of people afflicted with schizophrenia so exciting!

A team of psychologists, neuroscientists, people with schizophrenia, and a game developer worked for nine months to develop Wizard, a brain-training game in 2015. A study suggests the game was effective in improving memory and daily functioning for the test subjects.

The game lets players choose a character and progress through memory challenges, earning rewards along the way. Study participants found the game enjoyable, and their scores on memory and daily functioning tests improved after four weeks of regular play.

Professor Peter Jones, one of the study’s lead authors, says: “These are promising results and suggest that there may be the potential to use game apps to not only improve a patient’s episodic memory, but also their functioning in activities of daily living. We will need to carry out further studies with larger sample sizes to confirm the current findings, but we hope that, used in conjunction with medication and current psychological therapies, this could help people with schizophrenia minimize the impact of their illness on everyday life.”

I've been so interested to see how we are able to use technology in ways to help people with schizophrenia! If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, consider downloading the Peak app for iPhone or Android, where you can play Wizard for yourself. 

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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