Smartphone Apps Can Help Combat Anxiety

Posted on Mon 02 Jun, 2014, by JustCall Team


Our close relationships with devices like smartphones and tablets could be used to help combat anxiety. 

A waft of new apps designed to help calm, soothe and encourage people to tackle and overcome anxieties have gained popularity with users who can use their devices to help them cope. 

Psychologist Phil Topham, a research fellow at the University of Western England, developed a simple program along with his team for self-help anxiety management. 

The app, called SAM, offers treatment advice, lets users share their experiences anonymously, and keeps a log of mental and physical states so users can track how they’re feeling. 

Dr Topham believes smartphones can bring comfort to sufferers who trust their smartphones and tablets to offer them privacy about conditions they may not be comfortable sharing with friends or family. 

"People get very attached to their phones and their tablets," Dr Topham told the BBC. 

"There's quite a lot of shame attached to anxiety, in not being able to cope.

"A mobile device is actually a very private device. You're not exposing your anxiety."

Other apps have been designed to help tackle more specific phobias through systematic desensitisation, the process of exposing sufferers to the object of their phobia gradually over time. 

Psychiatrist Dr Russell Green worked to co-develop an app to overcome arachnophobia, or fear of spiders, after suffering from it himself. 

Phobia Free directs users through a series of games with cartoon spiders, which begin as cute and gradually become more realistic as users progress through different tasks. 

The game’s other co-founder, psychiatrist Andres Fonseca, noted motivation is often a barrier for self-help when it comes to overcoming anxieties.

"We are hoping to get that magic bit of motivation that you get from games, where people will play them for hours and hours, and use that to get people to complete their treatment," she said.

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