Intensive cognitive-behavioral treatment for Specific Phobia in Children and Adolescents
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This paper reviews evidence for using the "cognitive enhancer" D-Cycloserine (DCS) to treat anxious young people. Adult studies indicate DCS consolidates fear extinction learning into memory during exposure therapy, thereby increasing the speed of remission. This paper examines basic research indicating both fear extinction and DCS may work differently in younger animals compared to adults. It reviews trials using DCS to enhance treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder in youths. Given there is often ambivalence about using medication to treat young people, this paper also reviews current research examining parental attitudes to DCS. It considers specific challenges facing DCS research, particularly with regard to maintaining experimental control and managing negative perceptions associated with using medication. Finally, this paper considers current research underway, particularly with regard to using DCS to treat young people with specific phobias. Overall, findings indicate that DCS shows promise for enhancing the treatment of anxiety in young people, but further investigation is needed to determine whether it provides significant benefits over and above current therapies.
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Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology