Using cognitive enhancers to improve the treatment of anxiety disorders in young people

Examining the potential for D-cycloserine to augment exposure for child anxiety

Simon P. Byrne, Lara J. Farrell, Ronald M. Rapee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cognitive-behavioural therapies have shown to be generally effective in treating anxious young people. Yet there is considerable room for improvement, as many clients do not achieve complete remission. This article examines the potential use of D-cycloserine (DCS) to augment exposure-based therapies for anxious young people. DCS is a "cognitive-enhancing" medication believed to consolidate fear-extinction learning into memory. This consolidation may "immunise" against the return of their fear and speed remission. This article describes what DCS is and how it is believed to work. It describes the "translational research" in animals that led to its development for consolidating fear extinction. It reviews the current state of evidence for DCS augmentation and examines the applicability of DCS to enhance psychological treatments for paediatric anxiety disorders. Studies currently under way at Macquarie University and Griffith University in Australia are reviewed. Future directions for this promising research area are briefly considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Psychologist
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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