A computer programme to help children overcome anxiety disorder instead of using medication, has been developed in Tel Aviv.
One in eight children suffers from an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and these can turn into severely anxious adults.
The new computer programme uses a technique to draw the children away from their tendency to dwell on potential threats and ultimately change their thought patters.
Clinical trials of the technique have shown it to be as effective as medication or cognitive therapy for these children.
Prof Yair Bar-Haim of the Tel Aviv University’s School of Psycholgical Sciences explains that anxious individuals have a heightened sensitivity towards threats that the average person would ignore.
The technique known as Attention Bias Modifiction (ABM).
A group of 40 children with ongoing anxiety disorder were divided into three groups.
Anxiety levels were measured before and after.
By the end of the trial 33pc of the group being treated with ABM no longer showed an anxiety disorder.
The computer programme is now being tried out at more than 20 sites across five continents.