"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

what it’s, how it might probably help and more

Exposure therapy is a mental health treatment that helps people face their fears. Through the use of assorted systematic techniques, an individual is step by step exposed to the situation that stresses him.

The goal of exposure therapy is to create a protected environment during which an individual can reduce anxiety, avoid feared situations less, and improve their quality of life.

When you're afraid of something, you could are inclined to avoid objects, activities, or situations related to that thing. While avoiding this stuff may make you are feeling less anxiety within the short term, it could make anxiety worse in the long term.

A psychologist or mental health skilled may recommend exposure therapy to interrupt the avoidance pattern and thereby overcome what's holding you back. During these therapy sessions, psychologists create a protected environment to reveal you to the stuff you fear and guide you thru the method.

Exposure therapy will help with quite a lot of conditions, including:

  • Phobias: A variety of anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation.
  • Panic disorder: Recurrent unexpected attacks of intense fear or discomfort that peak inside minutes.
  • Social anxiety disorder: Sometimes called social phobia, it's a variety of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social situations.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A condition that leads to unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that result in compulsive behavior.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: A disorder during which an individual has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a horrific event.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder: Severe, persistent anxiety that interferes with each day activities.

In vivo exposure. This variety of exposure therapy involves confronting the dreaded object or situation. For example, should you are afraid of spiders, an expert therapist might first ask you to assume a spider. Once you're able, the therapist may encourage you to assume more intense scenes with spiders while providing you with support and coping strategies.

Once you are feeling more comfortable, the therapist can move on to a real-life exposure, where they place an actual spider within the room with you and ultimately place it in your hand. The treatment can last a couple of hours or extend over several one-hour sessions.

Applied muscle tension. This treatment is analogous to in vivo exposure but includes muscle tension exercises. During treatment, you tense your body muscles, increasing your blood pressure and making you less prone to faint. This might be especially helpful for people who find themselves afraid of things like blood or needles.

Exposure in virtual reality. This variety of exposure therapy uses a pc program to stimulate the phobic situation (e.g., sitting on an airplane, leaning over a big balcony ledge, seeing a spider, etc.) and integrates body tracking devices that let you interact with it interact with the virtual environment.

Systematic desensitization. When you engage in any such therapy, you might be exposed to anxiety-provoking images and encouraged to assume the stuff you are afraid of while combining the exposure with leisure to administer the anxiety response. This treatment takes longer than other methods equivalent to in vivo exposure, but tends to be more practical in reducing anxiety and avoidance tendencies.

Yes, exposure therapy could be a practical and inexpensive option for treating irrational fears, phobias, anxieties, and more. The advantages of exposure therapy have been documented in lots of studies, being effective for various mental illnesses:

  • The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development showed that long-term exposure therapy is the gold standard for post-traumatic stress, particularly combat-related and military-related trauma.
  • The International OCD Foundation has found that 7 in 10 individuals with OCD experience a 60-80% reduction in symptoms after they take part in a mixture of exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring.
  • According to an article published in Psychiatric Times, participants who took part in exposure therapy studies reported a 90 percent reduction of their anxiety symptoms and a 65 percent reduction of their phobia.

Although research shows that exposure therapy might be effective for many individuals, the treatment has some notable limitations. Despite the success rate, many skilled counselors and therapists don't implement it. Some professionals consider that exposure therapy can worsen symptoms, especially when treating PTSD.

Additionally, exposure therapy is difficult work that causes people to feel and confront things they've fought hard to avoid. For this reason, the positive effects of exposure therapy may diminish over time if therapy just isn't administered appropriately. Therefore, patients must fully take part in the treatment and follow the instructions of a well-trained therapist.

The conclusion. Given these limitations, exposure therapy has proven effective in achieving long-term results for many individuals. Research continues to support its effectiveness in treating anxiety, phobias, and other mental illnesses.