Mental health disorders are ambiguously defined and diagnosed. The established diagnosis technique, which is based on structured interviews, questionnaires and data subjectively reported by the patients themselves, leaves the mental health field behind other medical areas. We support these statements with examples from major depressive disorder (MDD). The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) launched the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project in 2009 as a new framework to investigate psychiatric pathologies from a multidisciplinary point of view. This is a good step in the right direction. Contemporary psychiatry considers mental illnesses as diseases that manifest in the mind and arise from the brain, expressed as a behavioral condition; therefore, we claim that these syndromes should be characterized primarily using behavioral characteristics. We suggest the use of smartphones and wearable devices to passively collect quantified behavioral data from patients by utilizing digital biomarkers of mental disorder symptoms. Various digital biomarkers of MDD symptoms have already been detected, and apps for collecting this longitudinal behavioral data have already been developed. This quantified data can be used to determine a patient’s diagnosis and personalized treatment, and thereby minimize the diagnosis rate of comorbidities. As there is a wide spectrum of human behavior, such a fluidic and personalized approach is essential.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.