Effective Treatment for Panic Attacks
What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is a condition in which patients restrict their activities in order to avoid experiencing panic attacks. Panic attacks are intense bouts of severe fear or anxiety, which emerge for no apparent reason and reach a peak within ten minutes.
During a panic attack, a person may experience:
• fear of having a heart attack or choking
• fear of fainting
• fear of “going crazy”
• an urge to “flee the scene”
Panic disorder can be highly distressing and debilitating. It may prevent you from participating in important life activities, such as driving or using public transportation. It can lead to agoraphobia, or the avoidance of public places. Because it can be so debilitating, people who suffer from panic disorder are at increased risk for other psychiatric conditions, including depression and substance abuse.
Effective Treatment, without Medication
Fortunately, there are effective treatments available. Research has consistently found cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to be an effective approach in the treatment of panic disorder.
- In a meta-analysis of 124 studies, CBT was found to be more effective than no treatment, and at least as effective as medication
- CBT for panic has been found to be effective when delivered both in person and over the internet
- CBT for panic has been found to be more cost-effective than drug therapy
- A Harvard Medical School review of panic disorder research found CBT for panic disorder to be “effective” and “long-lasting”