A consultant psychologist from the North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has devised an iPhone app that is aimed to help people suffering from panic attacks, anxiety or stress.
Dr Joost Drost, in conjunction with developers, High Barn, launched the Panic Aid app after conducting research into producing therapeutic content through a mobile technology medium.
Speaking to eHealth Insider, Dr Drost said that the app, which is available for patients for £1.99 in iTunes, would be useful for anxiety sufferers as the mobile phone has become an “object of trust.”
“The mobile phone has become the object of choice when they start to feel anxious in public and anxiety plays such a big role in all of the mental health problems. We will be advising patients to download it and GPs can also do the same.
“We are trying to develop interactive software that provides therapy for patients when and where they need it.
"People will be able to use it several times a day and it will work in different ways from drug medication,” he explained.
The app, which features a large ‘Panic Aid button’, first offers users a relaxation exercise, which explains how anxiety and stress affect the body and the mind.
The software incorporates audio and graphics featuring Dr Drost, which aim to calm the patient through a series of therapeutic exercises.
Users can personalise the app so that it suits their specific requirements through a programmable training schedule.
It also provides clinical explanations, techniques and tools to help reduce the impact of severity of future panic attacks.
The development team has also applied for funding to conduct a feasibility study into the effectiveness of such applications and plan to begin the research next April, using the Panic Aid as a “prototype” in the project.
The app is also set to undergo further developments over the coming months.
“I think this will be the medication of the future providing a new therapy for patients providing a great possibility for the future,” Dr Dost added.
The trust plans to officially launch the app in September at its annual conference.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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