Essential hypertension has a complex and multiple biological, psychological and social aetiology and remains one of the most serious physical disorders affecting the Black population of South Africa today. Pharmacological treatment has been the predominant approach to blood pressure reduction, but considering that the greater part of essential hypertension has its origin in biobehavioural and cognitive functioning a non-pharmacological treatment approach to essential hypertension is receiving extensive interest both in research and therapeutic practice. This study attempted to implement a specific cognitive-behavioural treatment "package' which was tailored to the emergent aetiology in an urban Xhosa woman suffering from Mild hypertension who was on antihypertensive medication and to evaluate the treatment using a single case-study methodology. A combination of relaxation training and cognitive-behavioural modification was provided over a fifteen week period and evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively. It was found that a combination of over-weight, occupational stress and anger could have contributed and/or caused the patient's hypertension. The results also show a significant reduction in blood pressure during the treatment phase as well as a reduction in weight, experienced anxiety and angry emotion, and by the end of the study the patient's blood pressure had been reduced to normal levels. Finally the feasibility of using such a treatment approach is discussed in relation to the South African context and the case study method is evaluated as a research tool in light of the findings.
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