Smartphone game designed to reduce anxiety shows promise in study

CBS NEWS April 9, 2014
By RYAN JASLOW

Brain is retrained and anxiety reduced by shifting focus from a threatening stimulus to a non-threatening one Dr. Tracy Dennis

In a study published last month in Clinical Psychological Science, Dr.Tracy Dennis reported that participants who played an app. called Personal Zen scored lower on anxiety measures, and reacted less stressfully to tasks than people who played the placebo version. This improvement resulted via a rather simple process called cognitive or attention-bias modification training, getting people to shift their focus from a threatening stimulus, such as an angry face, to a nonthreatening, happy face.

According to Dr. Harold Levinson, this therapeutically designed app. proved helpful in reducing anxiety while also opening up similar treatment modalities for many with anxiety disorders who otherwise might never receive help. Importantly, this conditioning methodology retrains the brain to automatically focus on positives as well. Perhaps the following statistics will enable readers to better appreciate the significance of this research: “About 18 percent of American adults experience anxiety each year, and nearly one-quarter of those cases are classified as severe, and about 38% go untreated.”

About Harold Levinson, M.D.
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800)334-7323 or visit: http://www.dyslexiaonline.com

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/smartphone-game-designed-toreduce-anxiety-new-approach-in-mental-health-care

Photo Courtesy of nenetus/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Dr. Harold Levinson
About Harold Levinson, M.D. Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800) 334-7323 or visit: http://www.dyslexiaonline.com

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