Panic Disorder is characterized by unexpected panic attacks that result in distressing symptoms (such as pounding heart, dizziness, difficulty breathing, intense anxiety, fear of dying or losing control) and fear of having more panic attacks. This fear can build over time and lead to a person avoiding situations, activities, or places that are identified with past panic attacks. This process often causes significant interference in the person’s life and typically leads to increased anxiety and more panic attacks in a self-perpetuating, ever-worsening cycle.
CBT is considered the most effective treatment for panic disorder (with or without medication). CBT teaches individuals to understand the nature of panic and how to overcome it by changing the way they think and respond to their symptoms of panic. The intensity of treatment can range from weekly sessions to daily sessions for more rapid change.