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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015 Sep;17(3):337-46.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: an update on the empirical evidence.

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University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychiatry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


in English, French, Spanish

A large amount of research has accumulated on the efficacy and effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders including posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia. The purpose of the current article is to provide an overview of two of the most commonly used CBT methods used to treat anxiety disorders (exposure and cognitive therapy) and to summarize and discuss the current empirical research regarding the usefulness of these techniques for each anxiety disorder. Additionally, we discuss the difficulties that arise when comparing active CBT treatments, and we suggest directions for future research. Overall, CBT appears to be both efficacious and effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders, but dismantling studies are needed to determine which specific treatment components lead to beneficial outcomes and which patients are most likely to benefit from these treatment components.


anxiety disorder; cognitive-behavioral therapy; exposure; generalized anxiety disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; panic disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; social anxiety disorder; specific phobia

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