5 Conditions Helped by ABA Therapy
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, is a form of psychological therapy that targets and alleviates problematic behaviors. As the name implies, it begins with the process of analyzing, or understanding, what triggers the behaviors and how to replace them with new, healthier behaviors. ABA is therefore useful for any behavior-driven condition, such as these five.
Related resource: 20 Most Affordable Online ABA Graduate Certificate Programs
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is marked by difficulty concentrating and hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. ABA therapists help individuals with ADHD calm and concentrate through the use of mindfulness techniques, consciously focusing one’s attention to one’s own body and calming the central nervous system. This also helps them stop and think before acting, which ABA further enhances through rewards systems for positive and thoughtful behaviors.
Autism is a condition specifically involving communication behaviors. People with autism communicate differently than other people. Autism ranges in severity, rendering people on a spectrum from completely nonverbal to socially awkward. A sub-symptom of Autism is heightened sensitivity to touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell. People with Autism often display agitated and aggressive behaviors as a result of physical discomfort, compounded by a lack of ability to understand and be understood by others around them. Autism Speaks shares how ABA therapists help people with autism learn to communicate in ways that other people will understand by retraining their behavioral responses through the use of rewards. ABA is as much for the close friends and family members, as they also learn more effective ways to communicate with their Autistic loved ones.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when an individual experiences anxiety and panic triggered by stimuli that activate memories of traumatic events. The behavioral symptoms vary from trouble sleeping and night terrors to panic attacks and outbursts of aggression. ABA therapists seek to expose PTSD patients to their triggers in controlled and supportive environments. They train them to have new and more positive behavioral responses to the triggering stimuli.
Panic Disorder is characterized by frequent and debilitating panic attacks with no identifiable source. Symptoms include breathlessness, racing heart, chest pains, sweating, and fainting. Even chronic sufferers are never sure whether they are experiencing benign panic attacks or a life-threatening situation. Triggers can be systematic or seemingly random and unpredictable. The symptoms of the panic attacks are triggers in and of themselves. ABA therapists work with patients to identify trigger patterns, confront them, and form new positive behavioral responses. They use mindfulness and relaxation techniques, as well as reward systems.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
In Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, patients experience an Obsession, or a false belief, that something bad will happen if they do not perform a certain specific compulsive action. One example is the belief that something bad will happen if one does not turn the lights on and off a specific number of times before leaving the house. Sometimes the obsession is general worry, and sometimes it is a specific concern. ABA therapists work with OCD patients to identify the root of their obsessions and compulsions. They work with them to face the anxiety and overcome it by rewiring their brains to believe that the dreaded outcome does not follow the lack of compulsive behavior.
Behavioral disorders are highly disruptive to peoples’ life success, relationships, and daily functioning. Many medications that take away the disruptive behaviors also take away the sufferer’s personality and energy. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy now offers a real and lasting solution to these five conditions.