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An App Killing Anxiety in Minutes!

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Last Updated: Oct 31, 2016

According to a research, one can reduce anxiety if stressed in 25 minutes simply by playing a science-based mobile gaming application.

Tracy Denis of Hunter College of The City University of New York said that millions of people fail to seek or receive mental health services especially if they are suffering from psychological distress. The lead researcher also added that many treatments are burdensome – consume time, difficult to access and are perceived with stigma.

It is the right time for researchers to come up with alternative treatment delivery systems which can be easily accessible, affordable, and engaging.

This is the where mobile applications comes in to play.

The game utilizes the upcoming cognitive treatment approaches for anxiety known as attention-bias modification training (ABMT)

The approach train patients to ignore threatening stimuli including an angry face, and instead to focus more on non-threatening stimulus, like that of a neutral or happy appearance.

Research confirms that this training has helped in reducing anxiety and stress in individual who are overly anxious.

During the study, 75 participants were instructed to follow two characters around on the screen while tracing their paths as quickly and accurately as they could manage.

The participants were then instructed to each give a short speech to the researchers after playing the game for between 25 or 45 minutes and were recorded on a video – something that could have raised their stress levels.

The recordings revealed that individuals who played the ABMT-based version of the game showed less nervous characteristics and speech while they were talking and reported reduced negative feelings later unlike the ones in the placebo group.

Dennis explained that even the ‘short dosage’ of the app – 25 minutes – had potential effects on stress and anxiety measured in the lab.

Laura O Toole, a co-author of the City University of New York, said that it was good news in terms the potential to make use of these technologies in to mobile App format for they are brief and can be used anywhere.

Currently, the researchers are testing whether the use of the app for brief 10 minute sessions in a month can successfully lower stress and promote positive birth outcomes in moderately anxious pregnant women.

The team believes that apps will eventually be used in the treatment of mental conditions such as depression and addiction.

The research was made public in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.

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