Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Panic Disorder

If you decide to receive psychotherapy for panic disorder, you may want to know what your treatment options are. Depending on your therapist’s methods and training background, many types of treatments can be used.

Panic-centered psychodynamic psychotherapy (PFP​​P) is one such option, which has been shown to be effective in treating panic disorder; another effective psychotherapy—usually considered to be the most popular for anxiety disorders Therapy-is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is another effective treatment option for panic disorder. EMDR is often used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers believe that EMDR is helpful for panic disorder because it is useful for PTSD, because panic disorder usually involves hard-to-remember and painful panic attacks.

Because of its proven effectiveness, goal-oriented focus, and rapid results, professionals who treat panic disorder generally prefer CBT over other forms of treatment. Studies have also shown that CBT is always more effective than panic-centered psychodynamic psychotherapy (PFP​​P) and applied relaxation training (ART) in the treatment of panic disorder.

The following describes the CBT method and explains how it can be used to treat panic disorder, panic attacks, and agoraphobia.

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT for short, is a type of psychotherapy used to treat mental health conditions. The basic concept of CBT is based on the concept that a person’s thoughts, feelings and perceptions influence their actions and behaviors.

According to the principles of CBT, a person may not always be able to change their living environment, but they can choose how to view and respond to the ups and downs of life.

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CBT is dedicated to helping change a person’s wrong or negative thinking and helping to change unhealthy behaviors. CBT is currently used to treat a variety of mental health disorders, including major depression, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction.

It has also been found that CBT is an effective option for the treatment of certain diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

The study also found that Internet-based CBT is as effective as face-to-face CBT.This may be particularly beneficial for treating panic disorder because it can help people feel easier and more comfortable to treat.

Panic Disorder Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide to help you ask the right questions the next time you see a doctor.

CBT as a treatment

One of the main goals of CBT is to help clients overcome negative thinking patterns so that they can make better choices in actions and behaviors. Generally speaking, people with panic disorder are more likely to have negative thoughts and self-defeating beliefs, which can lead to decreased self-esteem and increased anxiety.

Fear and negative thoughts are usually associated with panic attacks, which are the main symptoms of panic disorder.

Panic attacks are often experienced through a mixture of physical and cognitive symptoms. Typical physical symptoms include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, and excessive sweating.These symptoms are usually considered scary and can lead to distressing thoughts, such as fear of losing control, going mad or dying.

The fears associated with a panic attack can become so strong that they begin to have a negative impact on a person’s behavior. For example, a person may start to be afraid of being attacked while driving or in front of other people (thoughts). Then, the person will avoid driving or entering a crowded area (behavior).

This behavior can lead to a separate condition called agoraphobia.With agoraphobia, fearful thoughts will be instilled over time, and avoidance behavior will only exacerbate these fears.

CBT can help people with panic disorder and/or agoraphobia develop methods to control their symptoms. A person may not be able to control a panic attack, but they can learn how to deal with symptoms effectively. CBT helps customers achieve lasting change through a two-part process.

CBT process

  1. Identify and replace negative thoughts. The CBT therapist will first assist the client in identifying his negative cognitive or thinking patterns. For example, a person may be led to think about how they see themselves, see the world, or feel during a panic attack. By focusing on the thought process, a person can begin to recognize their typical thinking pattern and how it affects their behavior.
  2. The therapist can use a wide range of activities and exercises to help clients realize their negative thoughts and learn to replace them with healthier ways of thinking. In addition, homework activities are usually distributed between sessions to help clients continue to identify and eliminate false thinking.
  3. Writing practice is an effective way to overcome wrong thinking patterns. These exercises can be used to increase awareness of and replace negative thoughts. Some common CBT writing exercises include keeping a diary, writing a gratitude diary, using affirmative sentences, and writing a panic diary.
  4. Skill development and behavior change. The next step in CBT involves establishing healthy coping strategies to change maladaptive behaviors. At this stage, the visitor will learn to develop skills to help reduce stress, control anxiety, and overcome panic attacks. These skills may be rehearsed during therapy, but it is also important for clients to practice new behaviors outside of therapy.
  5. Desensitization is a common CBT technique used to help visitors get rid of avoidance behavior. Through system desensitization, the CBT therapist gradually introduces the client to anxiety-producing stimuli and at the same time teaches him how to manage his anxiety. The person is slowly introduced into more fear situations, and a way to deal with panic symptoms is developed through each fear situation.
  6. To help keep calm in situations that cause anxiety, relaxation techniques are also learned. These skills help control fear, lower heart rate, reduce tension and improve problem-solving skills. Some common relaxation techniques include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), yoga, and meditation.

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As one of the most widely used forms of treatment, CBT may be part of your recovery process. CBT itself can help reduce symptoms, but many people will find a comprehensive treatment plan to be the most beneficial. Your doctor or therapist can help you determine whether CBT is right for you and help you develop a treatment plan that best suits your needs.