What is the role of behavioral therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Behavioral therapy involves sequentially greater exposure of the patient to anxiety-provoking stimuli; over time, the patient becomes desensitized to the experience. Relaxation techniques also help control patients' levels of anxiety. Respiratory training can help control hyperventilation during panic attacks and help patients control anxiety with controlled breathing. Other forms of psychological treatment, including psychodynamic psychotherapy for specific issues, are available but exceed the scope of this article.

Consultation with a psychiatrist is helpful to initiate longer-term therapy and to provide follow-up planning. Longer-term therapy currently consists of SSRIs, often with additional psychotherapeutic techniques.


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