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Exposure and Response Prevention

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a behavioral technique commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, including OCD, specific phobia, and PTSD among children and adolescents. In general, children with anxiety disorders have developed a fearful reaction to a nonthreatening situation or object, perhaps because of a chance association with a threatening or anxiety-provoking object. The lack of threat that the innocuous situation poses and the interference that the fear causes in the child's life makes the anxious response maladaptive. Over time, the child's anxiety may generalize to other situations or objects, further exacerbating the impact that the fear has on his or her life. To cope with this emotional distress, the child may develop unproductive behaviors, such as compulsive hand washing because of fears ...

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