New smartphone app could reduce anxiety
For the 40 million adults in the United States who deal with the symptoms of anxiety on a daily basis, taking a half hour of your day to play with your smartphone could provide some much needed relief.
For the 40 million adults in the United States who deal with the symptoms of anxiety on a daily basis, taking a half hour of your day to play with your smartphone could provide some much needed relief. Researchers have studied the benefits of a new application that could ease side effects of worrying and apprehension, that is available whenever you need it in your own pocket.
In a study published in the journal for the Association for Psychological Science, researchers gathered 75 participants who scored highly on surveys measuring anxiety, to take part in a game that focuses on a new form of treatment called attention-bias modification training, or ABMT. ABMT works to train patients to ignore a threatening stimulus, such as stress or anger, and replace the focus on a non-threatening stimulus that clears the mind of negativity.
The game itself primarily revolved around users following the paths of two characters on screen, where the subjects had to trace the paths the avatars as swiftly and accurate as possible. After participating in the game for somewhere between 25 and 45 minutes, the volunteers were then prompted to give a short speech, something that most subjects found uncomfortable, to the researchers while being recorded.
Upon analyzing the video and score results of the app, researchers found that those with anxiety who played the game displayed less signs of nervous behavior and speech patterns, while also reporting fewer negative feelings than those with no previous traces of anxiety.
Dr. Tracy Dennis, a clinical psychologist of Hunter College and lead author of the study, was pleased with the way that the app was able to help aid anxiety symptoms, and also with the mobility of this form of treatment.
"Even the 'short dosage' of the app - about 25 minutes - had potent effects on anxiety and stress measured in the lab," Dennis said in a statement. "This is good news in terms of the potential to translate these technologies into mobile app format because use of apps tends to be brief and 'on the go.'"
The researchers are now examining whether even shorter durations spent playing the game, around 10 minutes, can also provide benefits for those in need.
Recognizing anxiety indicators
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