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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011;13(4):413-21.

Cognitive behavioral therapy in anxiety disorders: current state of the evidence.

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Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


A plethora of studies have examined the efficacy and effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for adult anxiety disorders. In recent years, several meta-analyses have been conducted to quantitatively review the evidence of CBT for anxiety disorders, each using different inclusion criteria for studies, such as use of control conditions or type of study environment. This review aims to summarize and to discuss the current state of the evidence regarding CBT treatment for panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Overall, CBT demonstrates both efficacy in randomized controlled trials and effectiveness in naturalistic settings in the treatment of adult anxiety disorders. However, due to methodological issues, the magnitude of effect is currently difficult to estimate. In conclusion, CBT appears to be both efficacious and effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders, but more high-quality studies are needed to better estimate the magnitude of the effect.


acute stress disorder; anxiety disorder; cognitive-behavioral therapy; generalized anxiety disorder; meta-analysis; obsessive-compulsive disorder; panic disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; psychotherapy

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