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Enhancing exposure therapy for anxiety disorders with glucocorticoids: From basic mechanisms of emotional learning to clinical applications


Bentz, D; Michael, T; de Quervain, D J F; Wilhelm, F H (2010). Enhancing exposure therapy for anxiety disorders with glucocorticoids: From basic mechanisms of emotional learning to clinical applications. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24(2):223-230.

Abstract

Current neurophysiological and psychological accounts view exposure therapy as the clinical analog of extinction learning that results in persistent modifications of the fear memory involved in the pathogenesis, symptomatology, and maintenance of anxiety disorders. Evidence from studies in animals and humans indicate that glucocorticoids have the potential to facilitate the processes that underlie extinction learning during exposure therapy. Particularly, glucocorticoids can restrict retrieval of previous aversive learning episodes and enhance consolidation of memory traces relating to non-fearful responding in feared situations. Thus, glucocorticoid treatment especially in combination with exposure therapy might be a promising approach to optimize treatment of anxiety disorders. This review examines the processes involved in aversive conditioning, fear learning and fear extinction, and how glucocorticoids might enhance restructuring of fear memories during therapy.

Abstract

Current neurophysiological and psychological accounts view exposure therapy as the clinical analog of extinction learning that results in persistent modifications of the fear memory involved in the pathogenesis, symptomatology, and maintenance of anxiety disorders. Evidence from studies in animals and humans indicate that glucocorticoids have the potential to facilitate the processes that underlie extinction learning during exposure therapy. Particularly, glucocorticoids can restrict retrieval of previous aversive learning episodes and enhance consolidation of memory traces relating to non-fearful responding in feared situations. Thus, glucocorticoid treatment especially in combination with exposure therapy might be a promising approach to optimize treatment of anxiety disorders. This review examines the processes involved in aversive conditioning, fear learning and fear extinction, and how glucocorticoids might enhance restructuring of fear memories during therapy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:03 Jan 2010 11:19
Last Modified:16 Aug 2016 10:13
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0887-6185
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2009.10.011
PubMed ID:19962269

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