Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States, affecting 40 million adults. Anxiety disorders can be characterized by excessive worry, irrational fears, and sudden feelings of terror that impair an individual’s personal and professional life and can even result in physical symptoms such as digestive problems, fatigue, headache, chest pain, dizziness, and a rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorders are best treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy; however, some lifestyle modifications can ease some of the symptoms associated with anxiety. Smartphone apps for mental health disorders have become increasingly popular throughout the years and scrolling through over 10,000 mental health apps can induce even more anxiety in individuals who are already struggling with an anxiety disorder. Although apps are not a replacement for professional treatment, they can be used as lifestyle modification tools in addition to psychotherapy and medication. The following are some of the best smartphone apps for individuals struggling with anxiety:
When we are anxious, it is common to enter into the fight-or-flight mode where we can experience rapid shallow breathing. Breathing exercises can help counterbalance some of the anxiety symptoms and physical effects our bodies undergo when we are stressed. ReachOut Breathe helps guide you through slow deep breaths by telling you when to inhale and exhale.
Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
Developed by scientists in the U.K., SAM is a great app because it encourages users to think about situations that make them anxious and how they would think and act in each scenario. Individuals with anxiety often become trapped in this avoidance cycle where they avoid the things that make them anxious and therefore do not master the skills to cope. Some of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders are exposure-based treatments, forcing individuals to face their fears to overcome avoiding anxiety-provoking stimuli.
This app draws on a lot of strategies used in cognitive behavioral therapy, including progressive muscle relaxation. This guided technique can teach people with a generalized anxiety disorder to recognize the tension carried in their bodies and how to release those muscles.
Whether you are struggling with general worry, social anxiety, perfectionism, panic, phobia, or another kind of anxiety, Mindshift offers customized tips depending on what you are dealing with.
This app rewards you for completing different types of challenges designed to benefit your mental health, like repeating a coping statement or going for a walk.