Welcome to the Health Game. Joining me is Mark Grant who is a psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in the treatment of stress, trauma and anxiety. He has just developed a revolutionary app to help anxiety sufferers gain relief whenever and wherever they are. But before we hear about the app and how it works, Mark: what is anxiety?
Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or impending disaster, usually when a person is confronting a situation which they don’t feel sure about their ability to cope with. Anxiety comprises both negative thoughts about what’s happening and negative feelings.
And how prevalent is it in developed nations?
Anxiety probably affects everyone at some time, but we know that at least one in five people will suffer from a genuine anxiety disorder at some time in their life. That means that they’re experiencing anxiety that’s so serious that it’s interfering with their ability to get on with life. And that anxiety affects women at double the rate that it affects men.
So I understand one in five people throughout the world will experience anxiety in their life and is it right that 80% never seek help? Why do people suffer silently?
Somewhere between 50% and 80% never seek help. There are a variety of reasons for that: many people who have suffered anxiety, because they’ve suffered it since early in their life they don’t actually realise that they have an anxiety disorder, it just becomes a part of the way they see the world; a lot of anxiety sufferers also are a bit embarrassed about it and just don’t want to admit that they have a problem; and many also just don’t believe that there’s anything that can really help them.
What effects can it have on people?
Oh, anxiety has a number of effects, both physical and mental. Physically people can feel tense and uptight; they can have stomach problems and chest pains; they can have disturbed sleep; find it hard to relax. Anxious people don’t tend to enjoy life as easily as calm people. Probably the worst effect is just the effect on their confidence and self-esteem. Anxious people feel that everything is bigger than them and that they’re less able to cope with most normal problems in life.
Now, you’ve developed an app to help people cope with their anxiety on the spot and when they’re in the moment of anxiety. Why is it important for people to be able to address that anxiety that they’re feeling straight away?
Anxiety tends to strike at the most inconvenient time. It doesn’t wait until there’s nothing going on; it happens when we’ve got that job interview or that exam to sit, or that social engagement to go to. So people really need something that they can do in the moment in their life to help them tone down those anxious thoughts and feelings and feel confident and relaxed to perform whatever task it is they’re having to deal with.
So why an app? Is it because we’re all carrying around smartphones these days?
Yes, exactly. In this day and age just about everyone has a smartphone and, of course, the ability to marry that with app technology means that people can literally have a psychologist in their pocket and access information and resources that normally would only be available by going to see a professional.
So how does the app work? So if someone is feeling anxious or feeling anxiety coming on, how do they use the app?
The app technology gives the user access to much more rich sensory input than would normally be possible from, say, mental exercises or even a relaxation CD. The app contains sensory bilateral brain stimulation which grabs the person’s attention, floods their brain with soothing stimulation, and literally leaves no room for anxiety.
And how long does it take to have an effect once they’ve opened the app?
Testing we’ve been doing with anxious people indicate that most people will feel a significant improvement within two minutes of activating the app, which is amazing.
Great to chat Mark, thanks for your time. And to purchase the app just go to the iTunes store and search for “Anxiety Release” or you can check out Mark’s website which is full of great information, the address www.AnxietyRelease.com.au.
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