Anxiety Sensitivity: Theory, Research, and Treatment of the Fear of Anxiety

By Steven Taylor | Go to book overview

ner (e.g., providing cognitive restructuring and anxiety management training to the Impulsive substance-abusing woman; Conrod, Cote, et al., 1997).

Cognitive behavior therapy has been shown to effectively reduce AS in panic disorder patients ( McNally & Lorenz, 1987) and high AS nonclinical young adults ( Harrington & Telch, 1994; see chap. 14, this volume). Such interventions have focused both on training in self-control of somatic arousal symptoms (e.g., controlled breathing) and in reducing high AS individuals' tendency to catastrophize about the meaning of anxiety symptoms (e.g., cognitive restructuring). The experimental work of Baker et al. ( 1998), on the effects of alcohol on various aspects of response to hyperventilation challenge in high and low AS young adults, suggests that eliminating high AS subjects' tendency to catastrophize about the meaning of arousal-related bodily sensations (e.g., through cognitive restructuring) may be more effective in preventive interventions than providing training in control of somatic arousal symptoms (e.g., through training in controlled breathing). Reducing the motivation for excessive drinking and arousal-dampening drug use among high AS young adults could be achieved by providing cognitive behavioral interventions that reduce AS.

Such AS-focused interventions may prevent the development of alcohol disorders. Alternatively, preventive interventions may have to utilize techniques focused on high AS young adults' aberrant drinking behaviors and/or beliefs. For example, training in controlled drinking ( Sanchez-Craig, Annis, Bornet, & MacDonald, 1984) and challenging positive alcohol outcome expectancies ( Darkes & Goldman, 1993) may prove useful as alternatives or supplements to AS-focused treatment to effectively reduce current risky drinking and possibly prevent the development of alcohol abuse in this population. Future studies in this area should be designed to determine which combination of AS and/or drinking-focused interventions is most effective in reducing high AS young adults' current alcohol misuse and possible longer term risk for alcohol abuse. The detection of the risk factor of high AS in the early stages represents a unique and cost-effective opportunity for targeting a subgroup of individuals for preventive interventions that thus far has not been exploited.


REFERENCES

American Psychiatric Association. ( 1987). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( 3rd ed., rev.). Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychiatric Association. ( 1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( 4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Annis H., Graham J., & Davis C. ( 1987). Inventory of Drinking Situations (IDS) User's Guide. Toronto, ON: Addiction Research Foundation.

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