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Panic Attacks
Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks (12)

31 Mar


Dear Belleruth,

First off, I'd like to offer my thanks to you for helping people all over the country with their emotional/mental troubles and needs. Unfortunately, I suffer from germaphobia accompanied by fear of illness. It’s so bad that I wash my hands constantly, avoid touching things when I’m out in public, and carry sanitizer around in my pocket.  Plus, I don't go out to restaurants anymore, because I fear the people who made the food aren't careful with hygiene and contaminate my food with some kind of bacteria.

This all came about this past April, when I was very ill with a really bad stomach virus. It ended up being a very traumatic event for me, to say in the least... and I haven't been able to move on. I've tried everything I could afford -therapy, holistic medicine, acupuncture, meditation, etc.  I'm tired of living with this constant fear - what do you recommend for someone with my case? Thank you very much. Feel free to post this.


05 Nov

Hello Belleruth,

I attended your Conference on guided imagery in New Orleans after Katrina. I utilize TF-CBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with children, but had not been maximizing the relaxation-imagery component.  This helps me ramp that up to help our severely traumatized children and youth.

Now, I am in my forties and suffered from what I now know were panic attacks for most of my late teen and early adult years, possibly due to hormonal shifts I now describe as anxiety.
I believe in the guided imagery work and felt its deep movement during your conference, after which I bought a pile of products for personal use. I have immersed myself in these audios and now, a few days later, I am exhausted and have muscle soreness, chest pains and shortness of breath.

05 Nov

Researchers from the Kognio Centre for CBT in Lund, Sweden, conducted a small pilot study to see whether Imagery Rescripting Therapy can reduce the distressing images and memories from childhood in people suffering from SAD or Social Anxiety Disorder, enough to lower their distress and anxiety in social situations.
Earlier research has shown that cognitive restructuring combined with imagery rescripting works to remediate social anxiety.  This study examined whether the imagery rescripting without the cognitive restructuring could replicate these effects, using an experimental, between-groups design.

30 Jan

We got this delightful message from Annie Umbricht MD, a general internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  What she says about how difficult it is to introduce healthy behavior change to patients is something we can all relate to.  

And the way she responded to her patient who had his heart set on a Xanax refill for his panic attacks, was nothing short of brilliant, if you ask us.

She writes:

Although not all my patients follow through and listen to the guided imagery CDs, those who do are really doing well. 

24 Apr

This beautifully written and inspiring letter came to the office on March 7th.

Dear Ms. Belleruth Naparstek,

My life was shattered when my 5-yr-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. After a nasty case of strep throat that recurred a week later, Alana’s pediatrician ordered a series of blood tests that revealed falling hemoglobin and platelet counts. She directed us to drive her to the Children’s Hospital 4 hours away, as soon as possible. By the time we arrived, Alana was so white she looked as if she wouldn’t make it through the night.

Three days later she was officially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and the three week induction phase of treatment began. It was then that I began having panic attacks.  I would be sitting in the hospital with Alana and if no other family members were present, I would begin to feel waves of adrenaline flooding my system, followed by shallow breathing, which would only scare me and make the symptoms worse.

05 Apr

Which of all these strategies can be applied to phobias, such as a fear of heights?

Dear Suzanne,
The two simplest methods would be to either become very skilled at becoming relaxed at will or to use one of the alphabet therapies, such as Emotional Freedom Technique, to extinguish the fear.

22 Mar

Investigators from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey evaluated two protocols for treating adults suffering from both asthma and panic disorder. The protocols included elements of Barlow's Panic Control Therapy  (- a combination of relaxation & breathwork, cognitive restructuring and graded exposure for desensitization) and several asthma education programs, as well as modules designed to teach participants how to differentiate between asthma and panic symptoms, and how to apply specific home management strategies for each.

11 Apr

Researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen in The Netherlands investigated whether the combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy (Sustained Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRI’s, such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Lexapro, etc) was more effective in treating panic disorder (PD) than either CBT or SSRI’s alone, and to evaluate any differential effects between the single treatments.

One hundred fifty patients with panic disorder randomly received either CBT only, SSRI’s only or CBT plus SSRI’s. Outcome was assessed after 9 months, before the medication was tapered off.
14 Nov

Researchers from The University of Göttingen in Germany performed a meta-analysis of studies that compared pharmacological interventions with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or a combination of both methods for the relief of panic and anxiety.

Researchers from The University of Göttingen in Germany performed a meta-analysis, including only those studies which made a direct comparison of pharmacological, psychological (CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy), or combined treatments for the relief of anxiety disorders. Sixteen studies on panic disorder, six studies on social anxiety disorder, and two studies on generalized anxiety disorder were analyzed and effect sizes calculated.

19 Dec

A study out of the University of Queensland in Australia measures the longterm effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on panic disorder, and finds in the subsample available for follow-up that after 6-8 years, it’s still working.

Researchers from the Centre of National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine, at the University of Queensland’s School of Medicine in Herston, Australia, recently wrote up a long-term (6-8 years) follow-up of patients who suffered from panic disorder who underwent a course of treatment with cogntive behavioral therapy (CBT).