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Monday, February 16, 2009


Cognitive behavioral therapy is the treatment that has met with the most success in combating ASD. It has two main components: First, it aims to change cognitions, patterns of thought surrounding the traumatic incident. Second, it tries to alter behaviors in anxiety-provoking situations.

Cognitive behavioral therapy not only ameliorates the symptoms of ASD, but also it seems to prevent people from developing post-traumatic stress disorder. The chance that a person diagnosed with acute stress disorder will develop PSTD is about 80 percent; the chance that they will develop PTSD after cognitive-behavioral therapy is only about 20 percent.

Psychological debriefing and anxiety management groups are two other types of therapy that have been examined for the treatment of ASD. Psychological debriefing involves an intense therapeutic invention immediately after the trauma, so that traumatized individuals can "talk it all out." In anxiety management groups, people share coping strategies and learn to combat stress together. However, both types of therapy have proven to be largely ineffectual for the treatment of ASD.


  • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition
  • Anxiety and Its Disorders: The nature and treatment of anxiety and panic (Guilford Press)
  • Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
  • American Journal of Psychiatry
  • Journal of Anxiety Disorders
  • Journal of Traumatic Stress
  • Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
  • War Psychiatry: Textbook of Military Medicine
  • Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Center for PTSD
  • Department of Health & Human Services