Anxiety Disorders—Such As Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,

1277 WordsMar 7, 20176 Pages
Anxiety disorders—such as post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias—are amongst the most prevalent psychological disorders in the United States. Because of this, there is a definite need for a variety of effective treatments for such disorders. Behavioral therapy has made many innovative contributions to treat anxiety disorders in the past several decades. Generally, the two main classes of behavioral therapies that treat anxiety disorders are brief/graduated, and prolonged/intense exposure therapy. These types of behavior therapies are separated based on distinct characteristics. With that being said, it is possible to use a therapy that takes from both brief/graduated, and prolonged/intense exposure…show more content…
Systematic desensitization is a brief/graduated method of exposure therapy that gets patients to become increasingly more exposed to an anxiety-evoking stimulus or situation, while engaging in a competing behavior. This therapy had three primary steps. First, the patient is taught a competing response, then events that cause the anxiety are listed in a hierarchy, then the patient is instructed to imagine each anxiety-evoking event while simultaneously engaging in the competing behavior. With that being said, making a list of anxiety-evoking situations or stimuli is called anxiety hierarchy construction. Each hierarchy is to have a general theme and each situation is to be listed from least to most anxiety-evoking. One of the most effective competing responses is progressive relaxation, or skeletal muscle relaxation. Progressive relaxation is generally a guided process of focusing on specific muscle groups and relaxing them one group at a time until one’s whole body is relaxed. Progressive relaxation can be done alone or with the guidance of a therapist. There are two types of progressive relaxation that are used in exposure therapy: tension and relaxation, and relaxation only. Both the tension and relaxation as well as the relaxation only method are carried out by taking deep breaths and focusing on one muscle group, of the 16 groups, at a time. The only distinction between the two types is that
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