Panic Disorder

What is Panic Disorder?

From the NHS Guidelines:

… the essential feature of Panic Disorder is the presence of recurrentunexpected panic attacks followed by at least one month of persistent concern about having another panic attack, worry about the possible implications or consequences of the panic attacks, or a significant behavioural change related to the attacks.

CBT can help!

Safeguards

It is important to confirm the following:

  • The panic attacks are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or general medical condition.
  • The panic attacks are not better accounted for by another mental disorder.

Depending on whether criteria are also met for agoraphobia, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia is diagnosed.

At least two unexpected panic attacks are needed for diagnosis of the disorder.

Symptoms

Individuals with the disorder display characteristic concerns or attributions about the implications or consequences of the panic attacks.

Some individuals fear that they indicate the presence of an undiagnosed, life-threatening illness (such as cardiac disease). They may remain frightened and unconvinced that they do not have a life-threatening illness despite repeated medical testing and reassurance.

Other individuals may fear that they are ‘going crazy’, losing control or are emotionally weak.

We offer Instant CBT sessions for Panic Disorder.

How can CBT Help

From the NYTimes:

The goal of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is to regain control of reactions to stress and stimuli, thus reducing the feeling of helplessness that often accompanies anxiety disorders. CBT works on the principle that the thoughts that produce and maintain anxiety can be recognized and altered using various techniques that change behavioural responses and eliminate the anxiety reaction.

Effectiveness

CBT and medication are each effective alone but many studies have shown that a combination of CBT and medication is the best approach for treating anxiety disorders. Combination CBT and medication is particularly effective for children and adolescents. Evidence clearly supports the combination approach’s benefits for treating pediatric cases of generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, social phobia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Complex Cases

Studies suggest that CBT is also helpful for patients who have additional conditions, such as depression, a second anxiety disorder, or alcohol dependency. (It may take longer to achieve a successful outcome in such cases, however.) CBT is often given along with drug treatment.

Remote CBT Works

Both individual and group treatments work well. However, people with social phobia may do better in individual sessions. Several recent studies also indicate that telephone-based behavioural therapy works well for people with OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorders.

References

  • http://www.psycheducation.org/anxiety/panic/introduction.htm
  • http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/panic-disorder/psychotherapy-and-other-treatments.html