Fitness monitors can alert doctors to symptoms of depression according to a new study released at the 2017 American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.
The study, conducted at Stanford University with nearly 3,000 older men living in community centers, reported that low activity during the day and/or going to bed late and getting up late or going to bed late and getting up early with decreased daytime activity can signal depression. Researchers used fitness monitors that tracked sleep as well as physical activity/steps (e.g. some models of FitBit, Garmin, etc.) for up to seven days.
A high percentage of ADHD adults have sleep issues, especially the late-to-bed-hard-to-get-up pattern. And since ADHD and depression are common bedfellows, if you excuse the pun, it makes sense to consider the implications for ADHD adults.
Given the widespread use of activity monitors, also known as fitness trackers, researchers concluded that doctors could use historical tracking data to screen for, diagnose and monitor depression in older adults. These results were limited to the test group of older men, but it’s possible they could be extrapolated to older women as well (and perhaps younger ones, too).
So if you wear a fitness tracker, share the results with your mental health professional. They might be an important indicator of whether your depression is stable, getting worse or better. Moreover, the results of your tracker might tell your doctor that you might need treatment for depression, a crucial part of your ADHD treatment.