Aligning Dimensions of Interoceptive Experience (ADIE)
We will test if a new therapy, which we call ADIE, can help people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs) avoid developing anxiety disorders.
The therapy limits anxiety feelings caused by the way we respond to ‘arousal’ changes inside the body during stress (e.g. fast heartbeats).
People with ASCs are, in general, more likely to develop anxiety problems on top of lifelong difficulties in dealing with other people. We have shown that people with ASCs often misjudge when and why changes in the body (e.g. heart rate) happen, and are more affected by such inner bodily changes. This combination of being less accurate and more sensitive to bodily arousal causes more anxiety. Our ADIE therapy trains people to be better at judging heartbeats and more confident in interpreting bodily arousal, to decrease anxiety feelings.
We will test if ADIE therapy reduces the chance of people with ASC getting anxiety problems. The therapy employs a finger monitor to measure heartbeats, linked to a computer that runs the tests and training. Part of the project involves making an easy-to-use computer ‘app’ for patients and therapists to use ADIE therapy in every day clinical practice.
Some people are likely to respond to ADIE therapy better than others, so we will also use research brain scans to see if we can understand why, and therefore how we can improve the therapy for others. These research scans will also ensure that doctors become more aware that people with ASCs can benefit deeply from psychological therapies.
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