A team led by Dr. Thomas Lang, psychology professor at Constructor University, has developed an app that patients can use to bridge waiting times to receive therapy. The effectiveness of the app, "Mindable: panic disorder and agoraphobia," was clinically tested and proven in a study. Mindable has now been approved by health insurers as an official digital health app.
Teams from Constructor University in Bremen and study centers in Hamburg and Münster conducted a study with 107 people suffering from panic disorder and agoraphobia –claustrophobia – in two groups: One group had access to the app, the other didn’t. Subjects were selected through clinical interviews prior to the start of the study, during which a corresponding panic disorder was diagnosed. Several rounds of interviews and measurements were conducted with both groups during the course of the study.
The app is based on a treatment manual developed by Lang and others in 2012. "Users learn about their condition and perform exercises to combat anxiety, just as they would whilst working with a therapist," Lang said. Components of the app also include an anxiety diary and weekly check-ups.
The effectiveness of the app was proven in the study. Patients with access to the app showed a significant reduction in anxiety and panic symptoms after eight weeks. Mindable thus stands out from the large mass of digital health apps currently available on the market, only a fraction of which have been methodically tested for effectiveness. Thanks to its proven efficacy, Mindable is one of the few health apps to have received health insurance approval. The costs of the app are covered by the statutory health insurance, provided that the patient can present a corresponding prescription.
The app has its limitations, however, Lang explicitly points out: "It improves the symptoms, but it is not a substitute for therapy or an alternative for treatment," he stressed. The aim is to provide patients with tools that help them getting through the waiting period for a spot in therapy and to encourage them to take the first steps against their symptomatology. This could also reduce reservations about taking up psychotherapy and prepare them for classic therapeutic work.
According to estimates, ten to 14 percent of the population in Germany suffer from an anxiety disorder that requires treatment. They often wait several years for specialized treatment. "It can be considered a success if they remain stable during the waiting period," says Lang.
Sandra Ruppel | Corporate Communications
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Dr. Thomas Lang | Professor of Psychology
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With the App, users learn about their condition and perform exercises to combat anxiety, just as the ...
Source: Mindable Health
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