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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter we provide an overview of exposure-based interventions for anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among adults. We discuss the principles that underlie these interventions as described in emotional processing theory (Foa and Kozak, 1986), applications of exposure-based interventions for specific disorders, and the efficacy of existing exposure treatment programs. Although the majority of patients with anxiety disorders, OCD, and PTSD benefit significantly from these treatments, a significant percentage of patients continue to suffer from debilitating levels of symptoms; accordingly, we review efforts that have been made to increase the efficacy of exposure-based treatments, including combinations of exposure with psychopharmacological treatment and efforts to directly augment the efficacy of exposure. We conclude with a discussion of the gap between the development of effective treatments and their widespread use by clinicians, including a review of efforts to use technology to bridge this gap.

Keywords: exposure, cognitive-behavioral therapy, evidence-based treatment, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobia, social phobia, panic disorder, dissemination

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