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Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;178:331-6.

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

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Institute of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo, Cep 05403-010, São Paulo, Brazil.



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


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


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.


The three self-exposure groups improved significantly and similarly at post-treatment and up to 1-year followup, 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.


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

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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