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Medication for Phobias

Medication for phobias is generally ineffective. Whereas significant research has shown different kinds of medication to be effective for depression and some anxiety disorders, the research is conclusive that medication provides little benefit to those with a specific phobia.

The most often prescribed medication for phobia is what is known as a benzodiazepine. These are medications such as Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. Benzodiazepines are intended for acute anxiety, meaning a discreet anxiety episode or a panic attack. They are commonly used with individuals who have a flying phobia, as they are easily taken before boarding a plane. The problem is that benzodiazepines only work short-term. One must take a benzodiazepine prior to every instance of being in contact with the target of the phobia, or else they will experience the intense anxiety. Thus when people stop taking benzodiazepines, they inevitably have a full relapse of symptoms.

In addition to just being a short-term strategy for specific phobia, there is evidence that taking benzodiazepines is harmful long-term. Some studies have shown that once someone has taken benzodiazepines for a phobia, their fear is significantly increased without the medication, meaning the phobia seems to have worsened. Furthermore, unlike with most other psychiatric medications, benzodiazepines have a high likelihood for dependence and tolerance, resulting in potential substance abuse and withdrawal.

The most effective treatment for phobias lies not in medication, but in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has a very high success rate in treating phobias, with upwards of 90% of people who receive CBT achieving full remission after only ten sessions of treatment. Click the following like to learn more about CBT for phobias.

At Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Los Angeles, we specialize in treatment of anxiety disorders, such as phobias. Call or email today to schedule an appointment.