Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Cognitive therapy and exposure therapy alone, together, or combined with relaxation training have been found to be effective in treating phobias. Relaxation training alone has also been found to be helpful in treating phobias. While some interventions, like sedating people who are phobic about getting dental work, may be useful in the short term, they may undermine truly overcoming the phobia.
How are phobias prevented?
Prevention programs that involve educating people, their loved ones, and other involved individuals like children's teachers have been found to be effective in preventing phobias from occurring in the first place.
Ways that phobia sufferers can work toward overcoming their fears include talking about their fears, refraining from avoiding situations they find stressful, imagining themselves facing their fears (visualization), and making positive self-statements like, "I will be OK." In fact, when self-help approaches are combined with brief psychotherapy, people with phobias may achieve significant improvement in symptoms.
Where can people get information and help for phobias?
(Agoraphobics Building Independent Lives)
Research studies are focused upon how well phobias respond to various treatments over the course of years as well as how age-related changes in thinking ability (cognition) may interact with anxiety. The use of herbal and other dietary supplements in the treatment of phobias is being explored as well.
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Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on 9/12/2012