Conclusions

Studies continue to show that exposure is effective in the treatment of specific phobias and now this can be successfully delivered by computer and Virtual Reality Displays. However, the effect on behaviour, notably the capacity to accept injections and to fly in aircraft following the corresponding treatment programmes, has not been well demonstrated. Innovations based on information-processing theories of fear have been tested only in a handful of studies, most notably for claustrophobia and the fear of dental treatment. However, studies of the latter also have sought no evidence that patients would accept dentistry more readily, an indispensable outcome for patients who have avoided dentistry so risking detriment to their health.

Of particular note, however, is the fact that most studies have excluded or failed to describe subjects with comorbid disorders or impairment in daily functioning that could be attributed directly or indirectly to their specific fears. This is disappointing in view of the fact that people seek help when they have widespread difficulties. This neglect is puzzling in light of the definition of specific fears quoted at the beginning of this review, which emphasises impairment in functioning. The question, therefore, remains to be answered: how effective are psychological treatments for people with specific phobias and associated psychological difficulties whose quality of life is impaired as a result?

Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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