Mayo Clinic releases Anxiety Coach app

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Do you suffer from extreme shyness? Or panic attacks?

Earlier this week, the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic released a new Anxiety Coach app, a self-help tool that aims to help people reduce a variety of fears and worries ranging from social anxiety to obsessions and compulsions.

Mayo officials say the Anxiety Coach helps people conquer their fears by guiding them through a series of confidence-building exercises while tracking anxiety levels in real time.

The strategies used in Anxiety Coach are based on cognitive behavioral therapy, a common type of health counseling that helps people increase their confidence by gradually confronting situations they have avoided out of fear.

The app was designed by two clinical psychologists — Stephen Whiteside, director of the Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Program at Mayo, and Jonathan Abramowitz, an adult anxiety disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina.

“This app is based on a long history of clinical research of what is helpful in conquering anxiety,” Whiteside said in a release. “It really challenges people to face their fears, as opposed to other apps that focus on relaxation strategy but don’t get to the core of what is helpful in the long term.”

The app is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It features short self-tests to measure the severity of fears and worries, lets users design a personal plan to target individual fears and worries, and offers tools to help users determine when to seek medical treatment.

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