How is Panic Disorder treated?

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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been found to be a more effective treatment for PD than medication and the benefits of CBT treatment remain stable over the long-term.

In particular, CBT for PD involves:                                     

  • Education about anxiety and panic
  • Understanding how unhelpful thoughts contribute to the anxiety and avoidance behaviour
  • Dealing with panic attacks
  • Learning effective breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Learning to feel comfortable with the physical symptoms without panicking
  • Learning to enter feared situations

CBT has been successfully provided to people with PD in face-to-face individual or group settings with a mental health professional; self-help through written or internet-based material; or guided self-help, with email or telephone assistance from a health professional.

There is also very strong scientific evidence for the effectiveness of internet-based therapy (eTherapy) for the treatment of PD

Other psychological treatment

Other psychological treatments are used, including those containing components of CBT, such as education about anxiety and panic, training in hyperventilation control, relaxation training, assistance entering feared situations, and assistance in making lifestyle and personality changes

Medication

Medication, including antidepressants from the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs), tricyclic and monoamine oxidase inhibitor classes, and benzodiazepines may provide some relief from specific symptoms, but they do not cure the person of PD.

People with PD can be sensitive to the side effects and become dependent on the medication, especially benzodiazepines

Last Updated : 14-Oct-2013