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Fear, Anxiety, Avoidance, and Chronic Pain 

Fear, Anxiety, Avoidance, and Chronic Pain
Fear, Anxiety, Avoidance, and Chronic Pain

Gordon J. G. Asmundson

, Holly A. Parkerson

, and Christina A. D’Ambrosio

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date: 27 October 2020

People with disabling chronic pain often experience significant pain-related fear and anxiety. Many have co-occurring anxiety disorders. The constructs of fear of pain and pain-related anxiety, as well as related avoidance behaviors, have provided a foundation for advances in understanding and treatment in this area. This chapter defines pain, chronic pain, fear of pain, pain-related anxiety, and pain catastrophizing and provides a brief overview of contemporary models that have guided research and treatment development. It also summarizes assessment targets and emerging evidence-based treatments, including graded in vivo exposure, acceptance and commitment therapy, as well as various innovative strategies for treating patients presenting with a co-occurring anxiety disorder and chronic pain. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research.

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