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Does the addition of cognitive behavioral therapy improve panic disorder treatment outcome

21 Jun

Psychologists from UCLA compared outcomes from adding cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to medications for the treatment of panic disorder, as compared to using medications alone.

Primary-care patients with panic disorder reported on their receipt of CBT and medications over the 3 months following a baseline assessment. The degree to which outcomes for those who used anti-panic medications were enhanced by the receipt of at least one component of CBT was analyzed (using a propensity score model that took into account observable baseline patient characteristics influencing both treatment selection and outcomes.)

The study found that addition of CBT resulted in statistically and clinically significant improvements at 3 months - on measures of anxiety sensitivity, social avoidance, and disability. Also, patients receiving CBT in the first 3 months of the study were more improved at 12 months than patients who took medications only during the first 3 months of the study.

The researchers conclude that panic disorder patients should be encouraged to receive CBT as well as medications.

Citation: Craske MG, Golinelli D, Stein MB, Roy-Byrne P, Bystritsky A, Sherbourne C. Does the addition of cognitive behavioral therapy improve panic disorder treatment outcome relative to medication alone in the primary-care setting? Psychological Medicine. 2005 Nov;35 (11): pp. 1645-54. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award