rootd.jpg
(Credit: Rootd)

There is no one-size-fits-all coping mechanism for anxiety. That's why Rootd (download for iOS and Android), a female-founded and led app for those struggling with anxiety and panic attacks tailors its treatment plans to users' individual needs.

Launching in 2017 with a panic button tool, the app added a deep breathing tool, active meditation tool, lessons and nature sounds, earlier this year, in order to reach more users.

"We found that a lot of people downloading the app were suffering from generalized anxiety, so we wanted to include tools for them, too," said Rootd founder and CEO Ania Wysocka. "Maybe their anxiety hasn't escalated to panic attacks, but they can still work on their stress levels and generalized anxiety."

SEE: Best apps to help stop panic and anxiety attacks

Putting relief right in their pocket, Rootd brings users immediate assistance via Rootd's panic button as well as long-term assistance with breathing and meditation exercises and nature sounds, so they can better manage their day-to-day anxiety.

What's more, since anxiety can strike on an elevator, a plane or a camping trip, where users may be out of Wi-Fi range, the app also works offline to keep its users as contained as a rooted tree in the face of a storm.

For calmer moments, Rootd adds Lessons to help users get to the root of what they're experiencing. There are sessions treating the origins of anxiety, how our bodies and minds experience panic attacks and why this all might be happening to them. The end goal here is to minimize their overall anxiety, so it doesn't ever get to the point of escalation.

Another way that the app helps bring what users may be feeling into focus and even name it is through the Ron character, a friendly little pocket monster, which guides users through the app's lessons and calming exercises.

He's a monster with sharp teeth, which is threatening, but at the same time a really friendly monster, so one that users could easily see as an ally. Those disparate characteristics are, according to Wysocka, meant to personify what anxiety -- the monster inside -- looks like.

"It's scary at times, but also super friendly, so nothing to fear in the long run," Wysocka said. "People interpret Ron as they want to and post on Instagram (download for iOS and Android) or in the app stores that Ron really helped them. It's really great that people see it as Ron guiding them and talking to them and helping them."

To ensure that everyone who needs Rootd gains access, the app's essential elements -- the Rootr button, designed to successfully guide users through a panic attack; the complete Understanding lesson series; a one-minute version of the Breathr deep breathing tool; a two-minute guided visualization within the Visualizr tool and the personal stats page, which shows users how far they've come -- are all free.

"It's really important that no user feel they can't find help with anxiety or panic attacks due to financial constraints," Wysocka said.

For those who want to take the next steps on their journey to overcoming panic attacks and anxiety, a paid subscription ($5.99 per month; $49.99 per year) gives them full access to everything that Rootd has to offer, including the complete Short Term and Long Term Lessons series to permanently change their relationship with anxiety and help them live panic attack free, a more comprehensive Breathr tool and a more robust Visualizr tool with soothing nature sounds.

Wysocka began developing Rootd in 2017 after finding existing resources for those suffering from anxiety and panic attacks inadequate. They were either too expensive, ineffective or poorly designed. So the graphic designer developed her own based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and had it approved by registered counselors and therapists.

As more anxiety apps flood the market, Wysocka continues to innovate to open the app to as many users as possible. Believing that Rootd's tools may be even more effective in the languages her international user base grew up using, she's already localized the app for Portuguese users and will continue translating the app into additional languages.

"Now there are more apps coming in, but I don't see it as competition, because the more resources there are, the better it is for everyone," she said. "And different people respond to different ways of information being presented to them."

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Takeaways

  • Rootd, a female founded and led anxiety and panic app provides anxious users with a panic button, deep breathing tools, active meditation tools, lessons and nature sounds to help them through stressful moments.
  • To ensure that everyone who needs Rootd gains access, the app's core essential elements are free. But the complete Short Term and Long Term Lessons series, a more comprehensive Breathr tool and a more robust Visualizr tool are available with a premium subscription ($5.99 per month; $49.99 per year).

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Joshua is an editor for CNET's Download.com. He covers the mobile tech and apps that power our lives and interviews celebrities about their favorite apps. Previously, he worked as an editor at Healthline and Gay.com and as a contributing writer for Mac Directory, MacAddict, SF Weekly, SF Examiner, and SF Chronicle.