New effective anxiety treatment via an app

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Goodfellow Gems

New effective anxiety treatment via an app

This RCT compares a subscription-based “unwinding anxiety” app as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.1,2

It uses a mindfulness intervention initially; “goals, curiosity, reinforcement learning, body scan, and self-monitoring.”  In this trial, the NNT was 1.6 to get a baseline GAD-7 score from 16-17/21 down to a remission score of ≤4/21 at 2 months. The author mentions that for medication to achieve this, the NNT is 5.2. 

The work can be found in Prof Judson Brewer's book, “Unwinding Anxiety” where he explains that getting patients to invoke curiosity calms the “default mode network”.3


  1. Clinical Efficacy and Psychological Mechanisms of an App-Based Digital Therapeutic for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Randomized Controlled Trial. J Med Internet Res (2021) View
  2. Unwinding Anxiety app View
  3. Unwinding Anxiety by JA Brewer View

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

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