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Glucocorticoids enhance extinction-based psychotherapy

de Quervain, Dominique J.-F. and Bentz, Dorothée and Michael, Tanja and Bolt, Olivia C. and Wiederhold, Brenda K. and Margraf, Jürgen and Wilhelm, Frank H.. (2011) Glucocorticoids enhance extinction-based psychotherapy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (16). pp. 6621-6625.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5849007

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Abstract

Behavioral exposure therapy of anxiety disorders is believed to rely on fear extinction. Because preclinical studies have shown that glucocorticoids can promote extinction processes, we aimed at investigating whether the administration of these hormones might be useful in enhancing exposure therapy. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 40 patients with specific phobia for heights were treated with three sessions of exposure therapy using virtual reality exposure to heights. Cortisol (20 mg) or placebo was administered orally 1 h before each of the treatment sessions. Subjects returned for a posttreatment assessment 3-5 d after the last treatment session and for a follow-up assessment after 1 mo. Adding cortisol to exposure therapy resulted in a significantly greater reduction in fear of heights as measured with the acrophobia questionnaire (AQ) both at posttreatment and at follow-up, compared with placebo. Furthermore, subjects receiving cortisol showed a significantly greater reduction in acute anxiety during virtual exposure to a phobic situation at posttreatment and a significantly smaller exposure-induced increase in skin conductance level at follow-up. The present findings indicate that the administration of cortisol can enhance extinction-based psychotherapy.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Bereich Psychiatrie (Klinik) > Erwachsenenpsychiatrie UPK > Kognitive Neurowissenschaften (de Quervain)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Klinische Forschung > Bereich Psychiatrie (Klinik) > Erwachsenenpsychiatrie UPK > Kognitive Neurowissenschaften (de Quervain)
07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Forschungsbereich Klinische Psychologie und Neurowissenschaften > Cognitive Neuroscience (de Quervain)
UniBasel Contributors:de Quervain, Dominique J.-F.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:25 Jun 2018 17:36
Deposited On:08 Jun 2012 06:41

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