An app for people with anxiety.
- Audio tracks
- App community
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||Does the app:
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- collect medical information? Yes
- require a login? No
- have password protection? Yes
- require internet access? Yes
Paid upgrade ($89.99 per annum - not reviewed here)
What does the app do?
DARE app provides a series of audio tracks designed to help those suffering from anxiety including panic attacks, health anxiety, insomnia and generalised worry. Users may be able to learn strategies to cope better with worry and anxiety, reduce frequency of panic attacks and improve sleep.
For the complete app description, go to Google Play, App Store or for a more detailed review, see Reviews.
✔ Good educational information about panic and anxiety provided in audio format which will be useful for those who prefer to learn in this way.
✔ Contains information about techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy approaches to anxiety.
✔ Reassuring and encouraging audio tracks.
✔ Contains useful guided relaxation and breathing audios.
✘ Based on the book DARE, a method for coping with anxiety which borrows strategies from both acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, but does not have an evidence base supporting it as a whole treatment.
✘ Although the DARE steps seem very useful and align well with acceptance and commitment therapy strategies, exercises to practise these steps are not taught by the app.
✘ Limited content in free version.
✘ Some audio tracks for use during anxiety attacks guide the listener through a series of steps but these appear to somewhat contradict the main methodology of the DARE steps (eg, use relaxation to calm body instead of “running towards” anxiety step; eg, tell self “I’m excited” rather than defuse the worry about symptoms ).
✘ Provides content to reassure users but this is not a recommended treatment for anxiety and, in some cases, can maintain an anxiety disorder.
✘ Use of audio tracks to manage panic attacks repeatedly may maintain anxiety by becoming a “safety behaviour” in themselves rather than helping people to develop their own coping strategies and feel truly safe in the face of anxiety.
- April 2022, Version 6.16.6, Android
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Reviewer: Kris Garstang, Clinical Psychologist, Life Mind Psychology
Date of review: June 2022
Version: 6.16.6 (free version)
Comments: DARE app is based on the book DARE, a method for coping with anxiety which borrows strategies from both acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, but does not have an evidence base supporting it as a whole treatment. Although the DARE steps seem very useful and align well with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy strategies, exercises to practise these steps are not taught by the app.
I thought some of the content in this app was very useful. For example, the tracks on panic attacks and the strategy of leaning into them rather than avoiding them was great. I also liked the four steps of DARE which, although not evidence based, align closely with the steps I’d normally ask a client to use if using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. However, I think that this app did not follow through well on this strong informational start and the guided audios provided in the free content did not always support the approach and sometimes contradicted itself. For example, it is contradictory to ask people with panic attacks to simultaneously try to bring on a panic attack (which is an effective strategy) in one track but then guide them through a relaxation strategy to calm the symptoms in another. I do not think a positive thinking or affirmation approach like telling yourself “I’m excited” to be having a panic attack to be very effective either compared to using the defusion strategies mentioned in the DARE steps (defuse, allow, run towards, engage). I also would warn against repeated reassurance seeking which is also offered by the app but can maintain anxiety symptoms.
NZ relevance: : Relevant to a New Zealand audience but all the audios feature a male Irish accent.
Safety concerns: Yes. The SOS function does not mention seeking help from emergency services or others. It only provides audio tracks to listen to. App does not acknowledge safety risks to those suffering severe anxiety.