Panic Attacks and the Rise of CBT

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A panic attack is a
frightening experience – your heart begins to race and you feel as if you are
about to die. The sufferer does not usually have a real reason to panic, the
dangers are ‘all in the mind’, but the experience is very real. Research in the
US has found that, of the patients arriving at A&E thinking they are having
a heart attack, one in four is actually having a panic attack.
In treating panic attacks,
cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has proven extremely effective. The
treatment consists of two parts. The cognitive part addresses the question of
why the patient feels they are about to die. For example I may be convinced
that if I go outside I will die. At a rational level I may well realise that
this will not happen. At another level, the causality might seem very real to
me. The therapists job is point out the inconsistencies in my thought
processes.
The behavioural part of the
therapy is all about training the body to relax, rather than allowing the
sensations of panic to spiral out of control. Think of this as akin to Pavlov
teaching his dog to salivate when he rang a bell.
About the author


Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD
is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from
University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about
scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book
“Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks.





SOURCE: PSYBLOG
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.