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publicado em 15/07/2012 às 15h51:00
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Researchers test new treatment for social phobia in hospital USP

The therapy uses a program in three dimensions that reproduce social situations that cause discomfort to the patient

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A new treatment for social phobia is being tested for a month by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo (USP). The therapy using a computer program that displays three-dimensional images which reproduce the same as social situations that cause discomfort to the patient. Social phobia is a disorder that causes the person to suffer every time you need to refer to situations of social interaction or performance has to show some activity and affects 8% of the population.

According to psychologist and researcher at the Hospital das Clinicas Cristiane Maluhy Gebara, responsible for the project, in therapy, the patient wears headphones and special glasses that put you in situations that appear as if he really did belong. Images are displayed for interaction with strangers, participation in meetings and even in situations where you need to speak to audiences. This makes it possible to test whether the program helps decrease the anxiety reaction of those who suffer from social phobia.

[Phobia] is an anxiety disorder in which people are very afraid of the negative evaluation of another, which creates difficulty in interacting. They avoid situations that must be exposed and when the face, do it with much discomfort, with pain, "said Cristiane. According to psychologist, among the symptoms are tachycardia, sweating, blushing cheeks." It is a situation that bothers a lot, because one imagines that those who are watching see and end up feeling embarrassed and humiliated.

One of the techniques of treatment is the patient's exposure to the situation, what can be done live or simply imagined. With the technique of in vivo exposure, improvement occurs in 70% of cases. With this technique, gradually and repeatedly, put the person in the scenes that cause less discomfort bothers to question more bothersome, inform the researcher.

She points out that with the technology and the possibility of using virtual reality, the technique being tested at the Hospital allows the patient's exposure to difficult situations, but less aggressively. Some overseas studies show that the exposure time is shorter, and how this is done in the office, treatment time can be shortened and is safer, because the person feels anxiety in much the same way, despite being in a more private setting.

In the tests are provided for 12 sessions, but treatment time varies from one patient to another, reaching up to six months. Some people will not have so much trouble to look at a scene, then you can finish the treatment before, Cristiane says. The causes of social phobia may be genetic or acquired by learning or education. The person learns or copy behaviors of parents and then may develop social phobia later on. The disorder begins in childhood and adolescence to pass, complete the psychologist.

If not treated properly, social phobia can cause losses of all kinds in one's life. Cristiane Second, there are cases of people leaving to accept positions that require more exposure, with much participation in meetings, for example. In personal life, damage may also occur because often the patient ceases to have a normal life because of the difficulty to relate and even to flirt, says the researcher.

Diagnosis is based on the analysis of some specific criteria. With treatment, the anxiety level gets to drop a lot and the person starts to live normally. The treatment is still being researched and there is no forecast of when the technique will be implemented in daily therapy.

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Social phobia    social reproduction sistuações    Institute of Psychiatry    USP    USP    Cristiane Maluhy Gebara   
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