Can mobile apps help you cope with Mental Health issues?

Posted on February 17, 2014

Photo: flickr

Journalist Scott Stossel was so anxious at his own wedding that he had to hold on to his new bride in order to steady himself at the altar. His clothes were by then soaked through by torrential sweat. At the birth of his first child, with his wife in the throes of labor, the nurses had to turn their attention to the expectant father, who had gone pale and keeled over.Even ordinary activities like talking on the phone can trigger pervasive dread, accompanied by nausea, shaking, and vertigo.

Nearly three in ten people experience a serious anxiety disorder at some point in their life, making it the most common form of mental illness. That's 90 million sufferers in the United States alone.

Yet half of these people fail to get any treatment, and instead continue to struggle with their crippling fears. The cost, the stigma of mental illness, the time commitment, accessibility - all of these conspire to keep people from seeking or receiving help.

Two psychological scientists at the City University of New York have started to investigate the possibility of using mobile devices to increase the reach of mental health services.

Tracy Dennis and Laura O'Toole are in the early stages of testing such a therapeutic game for use with anxiety. The theory is that anxiety disorders are rooted in a dysfunctional cognitive bias - an exaggerated tendency to focus attention on danger and threat, and to ignore signs of safety and pleasure. This cognitive bias is believed to emerge in childhood, creating a fearful state of mind that unfolds into persistent and pervasive adult anxiety.

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Source material from Huffington Post

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