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Turning to Google for help with anxiety and panic leads to all sorts of apps that promise near-instantaneous relief. Rootd, an app looking to stand out in this crowded market, released a press release announcing it as “the #1 ranked app for anxiety and panic attack relief,” adding that its product announced that it had “passed the Digital Health Assessment.” Framework (DHAF) is a rigorous new scheme aimed at raising the bar for health apps in the United States. ”
It all sounds very official. We were also informed that DHAF was developed by the Organization for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA), whose COO said in a release: Any digital health product that has passed the DHAF will prove to be trustworthy. ” But what is ORCHA? This is not a government initiative. Nor is it a non-profit organization. I have long criticized commercial companies that adopt this kind of business model. I am also skeptical of companies calling themselves ‘organizations’, ‘institutions’ or ‘societies’. A credit rating “agency” sounds fairer and more trustworthy than a credit rating “company”. Especially when you remember that the “agency” customer is the company you’re looking for.
For me, ORCHA, the Organization for Review, sends a similar vibe.
gamification of mental health
Still, for research and as an anxiety sufferer, I decided to try the Rootd app. One of the “Therapist-approved features” is “Panic button for on-the-spot panic attack relief.” “Panic attacks rarely last longer than 10 minutes” “These feelings will soon end” “There is no real external threat” “You will not experience a panic attack” 24/7. This ends;”
But the worst part of the experience is saved for last. After flashing the maxim, the app asks if you’re feeling better. Click the “feel better” button to get “+5 warrior points!!!” Bless you for being a “survivor”.
This gamification of anxiety disorder treatment is demeaning and a worrying indicator of where accessible mental health care is prevalent. Turn it into an AI-powered video game that you can license for an annual fee.
It’s no surprise that mass-market mental health products turn our challenges into games. Such apps are programmed by companies that I believe have unlocked and patented once-secret algorithms that have allowed them to function again. Use your patient’s moments of crisis to encourage the pursuit of ‘warrior points’, as they are the de facto solution to their challenges. You can chase the prizes of
we need to feel, not function
but it is No way to health. You cannot simply run away. Whenever I check in with Psychology Mentor, I’m excited to update on the progress I’ve made lately. The books and articles I’ve written and the lectures I’ve given. But all he hears is me trying to distract him. “Look! I’m functioning! I’m fine!” And with a loving sigh, a warm smile, and a straight look, he reminds me that I need to stop functioning. feltMy panic disorder has been with me for a long time. Healing is a movement to wholeness. If I want to be whole, I need to access the wisdom of my body.I need to give myself the opportunity to feel the moment of panic. I stopped functioning, stopped chasing video game warrior points, stopped questioning what was going on, stopped questioning myself, stopped looking for answers, got out It is necessary to stay with what comes.
I am very good at functioning. But I’m not very good at self-love, self-compassion, or self-soothing. Also, there is no AI. AI isn’t smart enough to help us get over our anxiety. But there are many in our orbit.
To find a therapist Visit Psychology Today’s Therapy Directory.