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Habit Reversal Therapy

Habit reversal training (HRT) is a “multicomponent behavioral treatment package originally developed to address a wide variety of repetitive behavior disorders”.
Behavioral disorders treated with HRT include tics, trichotillomania, nail biting, thumb sucking, skin picking, temporomandibular disorder (TMJ), and stuttering.
It consists of five components: awareness training, competing response training, contingency management, relaxation training, and generalization training.
Research on the efficacy of HRT for behavioral disorders have produced consistent, large effect. It has met the standard of a well-established treatment for stuttering, thumb sucking, nail biting, and TMJ disorders. According to research a self-help variant of HRT is useful in skin patients for the habit of pricking and scratching skin or pulling the hair behaviour.



Relaxation therapy refers to a number of techniques designed to teach someone to be able to relax voluntarily. These techniques can include special breathing practices and progressive muscle relaxation exercises, which are designed to reduce physical and mental tension.
There are a number of other activities that can promote relaxation, including massage, listening to music, yoga and meditation.

How does it work?

Muscle tension is usually associated with stress and anxiety, which are strongly associated with depression. Becoming aware of the link between depressive thoughts and mental and muscle tension, and learning to voluntarily let go of this tension, may help to reduce depression symptoms.

Is it effective?

There have been a number of randomised controlled trials on the effect of relaxation therapy for people with depression. In general, these studies have found that relaxation therapy works better than no treatment, but not as well as psychological treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy. The longer-term effects of relaxation therapy are uncertain.

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