Anxiety, Phobias, Treatment and Associated Costs: A Review

David D. Gray


Anxiety disorders are the most commonly occurring mental disorders and understanding them is important. Learning theorists suggest that phobias, a type of anxiety disorder, are conditioned responses to unconditioned stimuli. Research supports the theory that extinction of these conditioned responses may actually be the learning of a new memory rather than the unlearning of an old memory. Mounting evidence also points to sleep as an important factor in learning and memory and research suggests that sleep plays a role in phobia-extinction. However, while the majority of evidence is supportive, it is far from all inclusive. Future research should be conducted to clarify the role that sleep plays in phobia-extinction. Sleep roles such as sleep latency, sleep duration, and sleep staging may all play a part in the process.

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