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Anxiety attack apps

30th April 2014

Could apps be part of the future in dealing with anxiety disorders?

anxiety

Apps are being increasingly used to help sufferers of anxiety disorders to manage their conditions. One app currently available to treat anxiety disorders is called Phobia Free; it specifically targets those suffering with arachnophobia. Dr Russell Green, a psychiatrist, has co-developed the software in response to his own phobia. The game encourages the user to play a series of games with cartoon spiders, which become increasingly realistic. The app uses a method called "systematic desensitisation", which involves gradually exposing the sufferer to the object they fear. 

This is not the only example. Computer programmer, Simon Fox, has invented Flowy - a puzzle game that teaches breathing exercises to users, which helps them to avoid panic attacks. The data from the app can even be extrapolated and fed back to healthcare professionals for further analysis.

Why are they not used already?

Although these apps could provide very useful techniques for dealing with anxiety, some experts believe that they cannot replace existing therapy  as they target the symptom rather than the cause.

However, the popularity and increasing use of such technology gives it great potential to help relieve conditions such as anxiety. As apps offer self-treatment advice, they allow users to ‘add’ to existing services and help manage their own anxiety symptoms.


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