Category: PTSD

Symposium

Symposium 142 - Using Computers, Internet, and Mobile Applications to Treat Anxiety: A Mechanisms Approach

Sunday, November 19
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom O & P, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Adult Anxiety | Dissemination | Technology / Mobile Health
Presentation Type: Symposium

Anxiety and trauma-related disorders are common, costly, and debilitating.  Although evidence based treatments work relatively well, approximately 50% of patients do not respond.  In addition, despite the availability of evidenced based treatments, many people with anxiety and trauma-related disorders do not have access to them, and for those who do, these treatments can be time-intensive and costly. Thus, more efficient and easily disseminable interventions are urgently needed to improve the reach of mental health treatment.  One promising approach to developing such treatments is via direct targeting of disorder mechanisms.  For example, people with anxiety and trauma-related disorders evince abnormalities in the processing of threat-relevant information, and these abnormalities are thought to be a key factor in disorder maintenance.  Thus, interventions that “train” people with elevated anxiety to process threat in a way that is more consistent with non-anxious controls may prove to be both effective and highly efficient. In this symposium, we present data from four studies testing computer and mobile-based interventions that directly target anxiety and trauma-related disorder mechanisms including cognitive bias, attentional bias, and implicit emotion regulation deficits. 


Trait-anxious individuals show a bias to direct attention toward threat relevant information at early information processing stages (i.e. within 500 ms).  They also show abnormalities at later information processing stages such as interpreting ambiguous situations as more threatening compared to non-anxious individuals and showing decreased connectivity between prefrontal emotion-regulatory and affective regions when engaging in incidental (or non-intentional) emotion regulation.  A mechanisms approach to treatment of anxiety disorders involves directly targeting these abnormalities. In support of this approach, cognitive bias modification, attentional bias modification, and affect labeling training (an implicit emotion regulation strategy), have gained empirical support as effective mechanism-based interventions for anxiety.  However we are still at an early stage in the process of understanding how effective these interventions are, the details of how exactly to administer the interventions, and the feasibility and acceptability of broad dissemination. 


Meghan Vinograd and Dr. Lily Brown will present findings on affect labeling as an adjunct to exposure in PTSD, Dr. Andrea Niles will present results of a pilot study testing attentional bias modification for PTSD administered via a mobile application, and Dr. Shari Steinman will report on results of Internet based cognitive modification interventions for anxiety disorders.

Learning Objectives:

Andrea N. Niles

Postdoctoral Fellow
UCSF

Presentation(s):

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Richard J. McNally

Harvard University

Presentation(s):

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Meghan Vinograd

Graduate student
UCLA

Presentation(s):

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Lily A. Brown

Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania

Presentation(s):

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Andrea N. Niles

Postdoctoral Fellow
UCSF

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Andrea Niles

Shari Steinman

Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology
West Virginia University

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Shari Steinman


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