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Anxiety is a complex response to real or perceived threats that can involve cognitive, physical, and behavioral changes. According to the Mayo Clinic, experiencing worry, fear, stress, and anxiety is considered a normal part of life, when it is occasional and temporary. However, it is atypical for an individual to experience persistent and debilitating symptoms of anxiety and may indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), anxiety disorders include disorders that share features of excessive fear and related behavioral disturbances. An estimated 40 million people in the United States are affected by some type of anxiety disorder every year. 

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy an evidence-based treatment that “encourages the systematic confrontation of feared stimuli, which can be external (e.g., feared objects, activities, situations) or internal (e.g., feared thoughts, physical sensations).” This psychological treatment modality was expressly developed to help people confront their fears. Research shows that it can be an effective treatment for several conditions such as phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and more. Exposure therapy aims to decrease a person’s fear and anxiety responses. There are several variations of exposure therapy. Although the benefits of exposure therapy depend on various contributing factors (e.g., therapist specialization, the condition being treated, the participant’s willingness to engage in the therapy, etc.), some of the most common benefits of exposure therapy, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), include:

  • Habituation: Habituation refers to the notion that after repeated exposure, a person’s response to stimuli is weakened. Therefore, over time, people find that their reactions to feared objects or situations decrease.
  • Extinction: Exposure can help weaken previously learned associations between feared objects, activities or situations and adverse outcomes. The association that caused the person anxiety and/ or stress may cease to exist after sufficient exposure.
  • Self-efficacy: This relates to confidence and empowerment. Exposure therapy can help show a person that they can confront their fears and are capable of effectively managing any feelings of anxiety.
  • Emotional processing: During exposure, the person can learn to attach new, more realistic beliefs about feared objects, activities, or situations, and can become more comfortable with moderate, normal feelings of fear and anxiety.

Empirical evidence has shown the more exposure is disseminated is directly linked to treatment outcome and improved mental health.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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