Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are often debilitating chronic conditions that many develop within an individual over an extended period of time or they may come on suddenly. There are many types of anxiety disorders that exist including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, exposure anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. There are multiple forms of treatment that are used for individuals with anxiety disorders. The treatments include behavioral therapy, pharmaceutical therapy, and lifestyle changes. The most common form of treatment for patients with anxiety disorders are prescription drugs.

In reading through the general information provided about anxiety disorders I became interested in the behavioral therapy that is used to treat anxiety and depressive disorders. I found a study done in 2004 on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders and how it works to reduce the symptoms for children and adolescents with these conditions. The behavioral therapy that Compton et al. (2004) used with the subjects in their study included the following qualities, treatments were chosen based on demonstrated evidence from an evaluation, an assessment of behaviors that are involved with the symptoms of interest, psychoeducation, problem-specific treatment interventions, and relapse prevention and training. The cognitive-behavioral treatment used in the study targeted the brain and provided psychosocial interventions to work towards normal brain function. The goal of the treatment is to modify and gain control over unwanted behavior and change unproductive thought patterns that may be causing the behavior. It works by teaching the individual how to cope with difficult situations through exposure to them and how to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts through careful examination of feelings. The benefits of the cognitive-behavioral therapy are that the individual with the anxiety disorder becomes actively involved in developing skills that they can use throughout their life. One of the main drawbacks of this form of treatment is that it may take a long period of time to achieve results and it requires a high level of commitment from the patient.

The results of their study (Compton et al., 2004) demonstrate that problem-specific cognitive-behavioral interventions for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders can effectively reduce the symptoms of these conditions and can produce positive progress towards behavioral change.

Classroom Accomodations

After reading through all of the information provided by the study regarding cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders I was interested in finding what accommodations an educator can make for students who have anxiety disorders. It is suggested that in order to provide students with anxiety disorders with a successful academic experience teachers should reduce their workload, clarify the guidelines and expectations of the work they are given, discuss realistic expectations with students, and break down assignments into smaller and more manageable tasks. It is also important for the educator to provide differentiated testing conditions which may include extended time, a different mode of assessment, or a quiet/private environment.

Good websites to look at on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders.



1. Compton, Scott N. et al. (2004). Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy for Anxiety and
Depressive Disorders in Children and Adolescents: An Evidence-Based Medicine Review. Journal of American Academic Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43(8), 930-959.


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