Biological Therapies for Phobias

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Discuss Biological Therapies for Phobic Disorders? (8+16 marks) What are phobias? Phobias are an irrational fear of a specific object or situation. A phobia is classified as a type of anxiety disorder, since anxiety is the main symptom experienced by the sufferer. Today, I’m going to be discussing the biological approach to treating phobic disorders, quite obviously in this method of treating these disorders, there are two types of chemotherapy (drugs) which are used. Firstly, anti-anxiety drugs are one of the two drugs which are prescribed to patients suffering with the disorders. Benzodiazepines are quite commonly used to help relieve symptoms of anxiety. Benzodiazepines work by slowing down activity of the central nervous system by acting as a ligand for GABA(a) receptors mimicking the response of the release of GABA in the brain causing similar effects of calmness/ decreased agitation and mild sedation through decreased excitatbility and reduced communication between neurons. Kahn et al (1986) supported the use of benzodiazepines and found that they were more effective than a placebo treatment in relieving anxiety. Another supporting study conducted by Hildago et al (2001) found that benzodiazepines were a lot more effective than the use of antidepressants. However, treating benzodiazepines comes with risks. Benzodiazepines are good for treating anxiety in the short term, but not the long term, this is because they are highly addictive even with small dosages so accordingly, Ashton (1997) said that the recommended use of benzodiazepines is no longer than four weeks. Another anti-anxiety drug which is used are beta blockers, could this type of drug be more effective than benzodiazepines? Beta blockers are also used to treat anxiety and work by acting directly on the heart and other parts of the circulatory system. They reduce activation of the cardiovascular
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