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Self-exposure therapy for panic disorder with agoraphobia: Randomised controlled study of external v. interoceptive self-exposure

  • L. M. Ito (a1), L. A. De Araujo (a1), V. L. C. Tess (a1), T. P. De Barros-Neto (a1), F. R. Asbahr (a1) and I. Marks (a2)...
Abstract
Background

Exposure to external phobic cues is an effective therapy for panic/agoraphobia but the value of exposure to interoceptive cues is unclear.

Aims

Randomised controlled comparison in panic/agoraphobia of the effects of (a) external, (b) interoceptive or (c) combined external and interoceptive self-exposure to (d) control subjects.

Method

Eighty out-patients were randomised to a control group or to one of three forms of self-exposure treatment (external, interoceptive, or combined). Each treatment included seven sessions over 10 weeks and daily self-exposure homework. Assessments were at pre- and post-treatment and up to 1 year post-entry. Assessors remained blind during treatment.

Results

The three self-exposure groups improved significantly and similarly at post-treatment and up to 1-year follow-up, and significantly more than did the control subjects. Rates of improvement on main outcome measures averaged 60% at post-treatment and 77% at follow-up.

Conclusions

The three methods of self-exposure were equally effective in reducing panic and agoraphobic symptoms in the short- and long-term.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Ligia Montenegro Ito, Ambulatorio de Ansiedade (AMBAN), Institute de Psiquiatria, Hospital das Clinicas da Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, Cep 05403-010, São Paulo, Brazil
Footnotes
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Presented at the XXVII Congress of European Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Therapies, Venice, Italy, 26 September 1997.

Declaration of interest

Supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP).

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Self-exposure therapy for panic disorder with agoraphobia: Randomised controlled study of external v. interoceptive self-exposure

  • L. M. Ito (a1), L. A. De Araujo (a1), V. L. C. Tess (a1), T. P. De Barros-Neto (a1), F. R. Asbahr (a1) and I. Marks (a2)...
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