The more connected to our smartphones we become, the truer the phrase "there's an app for that" seems. But though there are downsides of being so aggressively reliant on technology, there are also a lot of upsides, including access to apps that help manage panic attacks and provide education on mental health issues. These apps are important partially because they offer tools that provide quick relief for mild to moderate panic attacks; however, they're also useful because they grant a lot of people who don't have access to care or treatment for mental health issues access to resources to help alleviate panic attacks for cheap or even free. An app isn't a substitute for professional help — but the right app can certainly be a useful tool to include in your mental health and self-care arsenal.
There are a lot of different ways people deal with panic attacks, including writing, counting, squeezing a stress ball, doing breathing exercises, watching videos with patterns, or talking it out with friends. The processes of dealing with panic attacks are completely different for everyone, so if you're relying on apps to help you through the process, it's worth doing a little research to find the one that will best suit you and your coping methods. These five anxiety attack management apps all differ from each other — and that's where their strengths lie. Which one is perfect for you? Read on to find out.
Despite its slightly irritating name, "Panic?" is a pretty solid, free app to help manage panic attacks before, during, or after they happen. My favorite feature is the fourth button on the menu that says, "Videos To Deal With Anxiety." There are several different videos that last about 10 minutes of a man explaining in a calming voice the different ways panic attacks happen and affect people, as well as different techniques people use to soothe them. The interface and design of the app are a little wacky, but don't let that deter you from looking around and using some of the features as needed.
2. Centered State
The free version of this app has significantly fewer features than "Panic?" but it's an entirely different experience: If you're looking for a short meditation session to help anxiety instead of information on panic attacks, Centered State is the app for you. In the free version, select "quick session" to get started with the meditation from the home screen. When you pay for the app, you can also select from options that guide you through "deep breathing," "panic diffusion," and "stretch" that last anywhere from seven to 30 minutes. The "quick session" will guide you through a two-minute breathing exercise while you focus on a moving pattern on the screen. In my experience, this app is really calming and helps take my mind off panic attacks; however, the automated-sounding voice in the background can be a little creepy and distracting, so your mileage may vary.
3. End Anxiety
End Anxiety is a free app that uses hypnosis as a form of guided relaxation to relieve short-term panic attacks and long-term anxiety. Unlike "Panic?" and "State," "End Anxiety" is an app you have to commit to for a couple of weeks to see results, as you do with many forms of hypnosis that aim to help a person deal with trauma, anxiety, and stress. If you're looking for a new, long-term solution to your panic attacks, this may be the route to take.
4. Anxiety Attack: Stress And Panic Help
Though this app is similar to the first two, it has a neat feature that the others don't share — a short quiz that lets you self-evaluate whether you have a panic disorder or not. Of course, it's important to note that only a doctor can really take into account your full gamut of symptoms and diagnose you with anything, but the self-evaluation helps you get a good idea of whether you should seek the opinion of a medical professional in the first place. Unlike the other apps, the tips in "Anxiety Attack: Stress and Panic Help" are emphasized through text, as opposed to sound or video.
5. Fast Calm
I'm a visual person, so this is my favorite app for anxiety attack relief. Fast Calm helps you regulate your breathing while you look at a beautiful image, which can either be a random stock photo provided by the app or a set of images you choose yourself. In addition to the option to customize the image, you can also customize the pace of the guided breathing.
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