Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling based on
the theory that by changing habitual thoughts and behaviors, you can control
and alleviate the symptoms of your condition.
During cognitive-behavioral therapy for
panic attacks, you learn about
panic disorder, its symptoms, and how to predict when
a panic attack may occur. Your therapist will help you learn appropriate
behaviors for responding to a panic attack and help you work through the fear
of having another attack. You and your therapist work together to identify and
change your patterns of thinking and behavior that may trigger or worsen panic
When Dorothea Lack was a little girl, she hid under a doctor's desk to avoid
a vaccination. Undaunted, the doctor crawled under the desk and vaccinated her
then and there. Lack said the incident provoked a fear of doctors that followed
her into adulthood. "I didn't feel I could trust them," says Lack, PhD,
now a psychologist who performs research on doctor-patient relations.
It's a rare soul who truly enjoys visiting the doctor. But for a significant
minority of the population, fear and anxiety...
You may be taught exercises to help reduce the physical symptoms of
the attack. For example, when you begin to experience the symptoms of a panic
attack, you consciously change the way you respond. Instead of thinking, "My
heart is pounding, and I feel like I can't breathe. I think I am going to die,"
you might instead think, "My heart is pounding, and I feel like I can't
breathe, so I must be having a panic attack. Even though it is uncomfortable, I
know I will be okay and the symptoms will pass." When the effects of a panic
attack seem less severe, anxiety about having another attack is
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is helpful if you also have
agoraphobia, which occurs when you fear and avoid
public situations or places that you think may trigger a panic attack. After
you are able to handle the symptoms of panic disorder, you will be exposed to
controlled situations or places that have triggered panic attacks in the past.
This type of treatment, known as exposure therapy, takes longer for people who
have many fears, especially people with
social anxiety disorder (a fear of certain social
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
September 15, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
September 15, 2010
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