What are the treatment approaches for specific phobia?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Specific phobias respond well to CBT. Gradual desensitization is the most commonly used treatment. Randomized, controlled clinical trials indicate that specific (simple) phobias also respond to exposure therapy. [66] A small, randomized, controlled clinical trial showed that virtual reality exposure (VRE) therapy is as effective as standard exposure (SE) therapy for fear of flying, with gains maintained up to 1 year following the treatment. [67]

Other treatments include cognitive approaches, relaxation, and breathing control techniques. To date, no controlled studies demonstrate the efficacy of psychopharmacologic intervention for specific phobias.

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