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Anxiety Sensitivity and Its Implications for Understanding and Treating PTSD

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Empirically supported psychosocial treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) all entail some form of trauma-related exposure therapy. Although these treatments are often useful, none are effective for all patients. Even those who respond are often left with residual symptoms. A better understanding of the causes of PTSD may lead to more effective treatments. The present article reviews the nascent but steadily growing research on the role of anxiety sensitivity (fear of arousal-related sensations) in PTSD. Available research suggests that anxiety sensitivity may play an important role and that treatments that directly target anxiety sensitivity (such as interoceptive exposure) may improve outcome, particularly if these treatments are implemented before commencing trauma-related exposure therapy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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