Graded exposure therapy for addressing claustrophobic reactions to continuous positive airway pressure: a case series report.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a safe, effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, and yet many patients develop claustrophobic reactions to the CPAP nasal mask and cannot tolerate this treatment. We examined the efficacy of a graded in-vivo exposure therapy for enhancing CPAP adherence using a retrospective, case series design. Objective CPAP adherence data were obtained on clinical patients who attended 1 or more sessions of exposure therapy with a behavioral sleep psychologist. Compared to pre-treatment, patients used CPAP significantly longer after exposure therapy. No predictors of treatment response were identified. CPAP exposure therapy may be beneficial in some cases; however, further research is needed to determine types of patients most likely to benefit from this therapy.
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