Symptom discrimination and habituation: A CASE STUDY OF BEHAVIORAL TREATMENT FOR Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Timothy E. Ralston, Kathryn Kanzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a multifaceted disorder of the autonomic nervous system that profoundly impacts physical functioning. In addition to physical consequences, many patients develop situational anxiety that causes reduced activity level, which may impede functional recovery from POTS. Despite links with anxiety, to date there have been no reports of psychological intervention for POTS. Here we report a case study of POTS in a 40-year-old female serving on active duty in the US military. Because there are no established guidelines for the psychological treatment of POTS, intervention techniques were adapted for use with the patient. Elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, including in-vivo exposure and symptom discrimination, were used to target avoidance of feared situations. Over the course of treatment, the patient learned to discriminate her POTS symptoms from anxiety and displayed a significant decrease in POTS-related functional impairment. Implications for future care are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • case study
  • exposure therapy
  • health psychology
  • POTS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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