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Foster

Assisting to Heal Anxiety

A deep dive into understanding anxiety from literature reviews and mapping it with user reports to articulate and find viable ways of healing anxiety.

This self-initiated project was born out of my lack of ability to have a normal conversation about anxiety
when a close friend was diagnosed with one.

This project aims at

- Understanding anxiety objectively through conducted research 


- Understanding anxiety subjectively through user self-reports


- Empowering close ones with solutions to speed up the healing

Context

Anxiety

A close friend of mine was diagnosed with anxiety in 2022. While I had faced scenarios of suicides on campus, I never felt personally connected and hence gave a sympathetic attempt to understand mental disorders. When my close friend was diagnosed, I felt helpless and clueless about how to help or even behave. This set me on a guilt trip of not being able to empathise. 

Eventually, I started discussing this with people in my network and surprisingly came across many confessing that they are going through/ have been through a similar phase. I realised it is a way bigger problem to just go by because of ignorance. Thus, I collaborated  with a couple of friends and started exploring more on the topic with a goal to find a viable and affordable way to deal with anxiety

Understanding Anxiety

Literature review

A list of 10 research papers was shortlisted based on the most cited across all times. Additionally, 10 research papers were added with the filter of the recent 4 years (2018-2022).

The keywords used were a mix of - ‘anxiety’, ‘treatment’, and ‘CBT’

. Some blogs from the Noba project were referred to understand the play of social circles that might affect anxiety.

 

Insights

  • Research hypothesises that the first-line CBT treatment for various anxiety disorders is the same suggesting that there is a commonality in anxiety disorders.

  • The focus of this study was narrowed to the age group 16 yrs to 26 yrs who are/were clinically diagnosed with anxiety-related disorders

  • Critical insight was to understand the parameters that give rise to anxiety. One of the researchers derived the relationship between a few factors of anxiety in terms of the alongside formula.


    The variables are not absolute values, but they are clearer in terms of articulation. We learn that

    • Complex subjective variables can be broken down as relationships between simpler subjective variables

    • Simple subjective variables can be evaluated by questionnaires

  • Healing anxiety can be largely organised into two categories

    • Clinical treatment- Such a treatment is carefully studied and administered by professional experts.

    • Supportive treatments- Such treatments work with clinical treatments to boost the healing process. These treatments have low effect individually but when combined with clinical treatments seems to produce very effective healing. 

Relationship between factors of anxiety in terms of a formula

A generic pattern in the type of anxiety disorders and prevalence in relation to age.

Anxiety disorders organised by Diagnostics and Statistics of Mental disorders (DSM) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

A consolidated representation of the nature of anxiety

Self reports

Self-reports and anxiety were aimed to understand the healing process of anxiety on first-hand basis.​

Insights

  • Retrospection is a major part of healing

  • Retrospection exercise is more effective when performed closet to the trigger event

  • Effects of medicines help in immediate relivement, hence they are relied on.

  • Effectiveness of CBT is specific to therapists and the style in which therapy is delivered. 
It is not one size fts all

  • Therapy sessions are appointment-only and generally have longer waiting times

  • Therapy and medicines are both costly, which also induces anxiety and pressure of recovery

Articulation

With this phase of understanding anxiety, a few design problem statements were identified.

These were framed as How Might We (HMW) questions

  •  HMW log and organise self-reports in an effective and efficient way

  • HMW bring about awareness among people about mental health

  • HMW empower individuals with assessing their own mental health

  • HMW empower the close ones to support the healing process

  • HMW make firstline treatments affordable, scalable and accessible

  • HMW empower people to articulate their thought optimistically

Request to network

I believe that people going through episodes and medication can guide me better with the success of this project and help me support my friend. If you have been going through/have gone through any mental health disorder, I request you to please connect with me.

Not to mention if you just want to talk, ping me without any hesitation. I will break the ice.

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