Exposure Therapy D-Cycloserine, and fMRI in Snake Phobics: A Pilot Study

Andrea M Nave, Fordham University


Specific phobia is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in the U.S., with a lifetime prevalence of 12.5% (Kessler, et al., 2005). With a high prevalence rate, it is important to provide effective treatments. While evidence suggests exposure-based therapy (i.e. exposure and response prevention (ERP)) is effective in treating anxiety disorders, many patients fail to respond to treatment (Clark, et al., 1994; Margraf, Barlow, Clark, & Telch, 1993) and many seek additional treatment within two years after completion of therapy (Brown & Barlow, 1995). Research has shown that combining exposure-based therapy and pharmacotherapy (i.e. antidepressants, benzodiazepines) is not more effective than therapy alone (Barlow, Gorman, Shear, & Woods, 2000; Davidson, et al., 2004; Foa, et al., 2005; Marks, et al., 1993). Recent clinical trials indicate that the partial N-methyl-D- aspartic acid (NMDA) agonist D-cycloserine (DCS) may enhance fear extinction in both animals and humans (Norberg, Krystal, & Tolin, 2008). DCS augmented exposure-based therapy is thought to target and augment the proposed neural mechanisms of psychotherapy, which should improve the effectiveness of treatment.

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Recommended Citation

Nave, Andrea M, "Exposure Therapy D-Cycloserine, and fMRI in Snake Phobics: A Pilot Study" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13853139.