7 apps for those habits that hurt everyday life

4 min read

A well-dressed woman with multiple shopping bags in both hands

Bad habits that can also be addictions

Some bad habits, often quite trivial and seemingly benign, may well be or can become addictions. This can even happen without our being fully aware of it. Other times, on the contrary, they take up too much space in our thoughts or interfere with our daily lives. However, it is entirely possible to gain better control over them, and even to get rid of them! Here again, apps can help!

In this article, I will not talk about smoking, alcoholism or video game addiction, or even addictions in general, as these subjects have already been covered in these other very interesting articles:

Instead, I'm going to talk about habits that can sometimes appear as early as childhood, that are sometimes socially quite acceptable or accepted, but over which many might wish for greater self-control. I'm thinking of addictions or disorders such as:

  • excessive use of mobile devices or social networks;

  • nail biting;

  • repetitive hair-pulling and/or skin-scratching/picking;

  • hypersexuality;

  • gambling and/or games of chance;

  • compulsive shopping.

Below, you'll find some interesting info on these harmful habits, along with an app that can help identify or gain better control over each one.

Because you spend too much time on your phone

Do you find yourself losing productivity, falling behind or neglecting a social activity, your daily chores or your loved ones, all because you've got your nose glued to your cell phone screen? If so, you're probably due for a digital detox!

This fun app, with a gamification component, engages you to block distractions, in challenges of varying levels of difficulty. You can then achieve various successes, and earn your place on a leaderboard of the best participants.

application icon
Digital Detox: Focus & Live
Urbandroid (Petr Nálevka)
android is available for this application
In-app purchases

Because nail biting can be painful, socially embarrassing and even cause skin infections and dental problems.

The scientific name of nail biting is onychophagy; it’s a chronic disease of a repetitive and compulsive nature, found mainly in children and young adults.

This app could help you stop biting your nails, or biting the skin around them, with hypnosis sessions and photo tracking of your progress.

apple is available for this applicationandroid is available for this application

Because we care not only about our nails, but also about our hair and skin.

Compulsive hair-pulling (trichotillomania), and compulsive scratching or skin-picking (dermatillomania), have prevalence rates of between 1% and 15%. These problems are particularly common in people who also suffer from Tourette's syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and anxiety disorders. That's a lot of people who suffer, or could be at risk of developping, this problem.

This app can help you if you're faced with a problem of repetitive body-centered behaviors. It allows you either to manually record compulsive behaviors, or to use the Keen2 connected bracelet, which automatically detects behaviors to avoid and emits a vibration to alert you and make you aware of it. You can then engage in habit-reversal training strategies, with the help of the app.

apple is available for this applicationandroid is available for this application
In-app purchases

Because hypersexuality is also an addiction, and will often harm interpersonal relationships.

According to official sources, sexual addiction affects 2-6% of the population. However, many dispute the validity of these figures, and claim that the percentage is much higher in reality.

This app will help you reduce your dependence on pornography and/or masturbation with a range of features: training sessions, daily exercises, progress tracking with rewards, and a community to support you.

android is available for this application
In-app purchases

Because gambling could ruin you

According to Statistics Canada, around 300,000 Canadians are at moderate to severe risk of developing a gambling problem (including lottery and scratch cards).

Offering education in the form of videos and guides, as well as challenges to take part in, the creation of a personalized plan, access to a community to support you or answer your questions, and a happiness self-test, this app could give you the help you need to free yourself from your gambling addiction.

application icon
Quit Gamble
Enigma Media Limited
apple is available for this applicationandroid is available for this application

Because compulsive shopping can also be very expensive

Here, too, there's a scientific name: oniomania. According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, as well as Statistics Canada, nearly 6% of the population has a compulsive buying (or shopping) disorder, with almost as many men as women.

Could you be one of them? Take the test offered in this app to find out.

Awareness is the first step on the path, and then, if necessary, you can get the help you need.

A therapist will be able to help you, but if you'd like an app to accompany you, an app for giving up bad habits will be able to support you in your efforts. You'll find a suggestion below.

application icon
Shopping Addiction Test
Inquiry Health LLC
apple is available for this application

Because there are other little habits you might like to get rid of

This more general app will help you give up any bad habit, especially if it's one that's costing you money. In fact, it lets you set different goals, including a money one, and track them in money saved by avoiding your bad habit.

android is available for this application

In a nutshell

So we've seen that when it comes to bad habits and addictions, there's a lot more to deal with than alcoholism and nicotine addiction. Although less talked about, these habits can be harmful to the physical and mental health of people who can't control them, as well as to their finances or the quality of their interpersonal relationships.

Consulting a health professional will always be a good first step, but whether it's to become aware of the problem, to be accompanied in its treatment or to support its remission, an app is certainly an excellent option to consider!

Your health care professional can help you choose

Feeling confident is important. Get all the essential information about health apps by talking to your healthcare professional.

AppGuide provides reliable information about mobile health apps that allows patients and healthcare professionals to make informed, shared decisions about using a health app to track health status or act on your priority health goals.

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