Panic Attacks and the Rise of CBT

Panic attack in public place. Woman having panic disorder in city. Psychology, solitude, fear or mental health problems concept. Depressed sad person surrounded by people walking in busy street.
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
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.
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
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
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.
are still not quite sure whether it is the behavioural part or the cognitive
part of the therapy that is most effective. Either way, when combined, the
therapy has been shown to be extremely effective in treating panic attacks.
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.