A team led by Dr. Thomas Lang, psychology professor at Constructor University, has developed an app that patients can use to bridge waiting times to receive therapy. The effectiveness of the app, "Mindable: panic disorder and agoraphobia," was clinically tested and proven in a study. Mindable has now been approved by health insurers as an official digital health app.
Teams from Constructor University in Bremen and study centers in Hamburg and Münster conducted a study with 107 people suffering from panic disorder and agoraphobia –claustrophobia – in two groups: One group had access to the app, the other didn’t. Subjects were selected through clinical interviews prior to the start of the study, during which a corresponding panic disorder was diagnosed. Several rounds of interviews and measurements were conducted with both groups during the course of the study.
The app is based on a treatment manual developed by Lang and others in 2012. "Users learn about their condition and perform exercises to combat anxiety, just as they would whilst working with a therapist," Lang said. Components of the app also include an anxiety diary and weekly check-ups.
The effectiveness of the app was proven in the study. Patients with access to the app showed a significant reduction in anxiety and panic symptoms after eight weeks. Mindable thus stands out from the large mass of digital health apps currently available on the market, only a fraction of which have been methodically tested for effectiveness. Thanks to its proven efficacy, Mindable is one of the few health apps to have received health insurance approval. The costs of the app are covered by the statutory health insurance, provided that the patient can present a corresponding prescription.
The app has its limitations, however, Lang explicitly points out: "It improves the symptoms, but it is not a substitute for therapy or an alternative for treatment," he stressed. The aim is to provide patients with tools that help them getting through the waiting period for a spot in therapy and to encourage them to take the first steps against their symptomatology. This could also reduce reservations about taking up psychotherapy and prepare them for classic therapeutic work.
According to estimates, ten to 14 percent of the population in Germany suffer from an anxiety disorder that requires treatment. They often wait several years for specialized treatment. "It can be considered a success if they remain stable during the waiting period," says Lang.
About Constructor University:
Founded in 2001, Constructor University is a top-ranked, English-language, private university, with a campus in Bremen, Germany. With its interdisciplinary approach, advanced digital learning tools and accredited programs, it equips students with fundamental knowledge, critical thinking and practical skills to build their professional career and address the world’s most pressing challenges.
The University emphasizes a synergetic and entrepreneurial spirit, offering program mentoring from top-tier professors and industry experts. Partner collaborations include the Constructor Institute in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, Carnegie Mellon, the National University of Singapore, the University of Geneva, and industry references such as Anisoprint, JetBrains and ChemDiv.
Internationality and diversity lie at the heart of Constructor University, with more than 110 nations at its vibrant and close-knit campus community in Bremen. There, students enjoy active campus life, with access to clubs, professional networks and academic counselling, essential to their personal and academic growth.
Research-centric faculty projects at the University are funded by the German Research Foundation, the European Union's Framework Program for Research and Innovation, and globally leading companies.
The greater Constructor Knowledge ecosystem includes Constructor University in Bremen, Germany, and Constructor Institute in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. It is a provider of education services with education tools, worldwide traditional and online educational services, as well as advisory and strategic services to education customers in the fields of student recruitment, communications, and marketing support.