Don’t panic... It’s just a disorder
It’s treatable! Yes. I said it. Some people are afraid it isn’t treatable. If you are one of these people, I recommend you have a read through a panic disorder blog or forum, a couple of which can be found at the bottom of this blog. The forums are full of people who successfully manage panic disorder.
How? Well the easy answer would be to ask the users in those online forums, but they’re not scientists and that’s probably why you’re here reading this instead of any other website or blog... because here at the International Psychology Clinic we use science.
“Is it treatable?” These words go through everyone’s mind. The answer is yes and today I want to briefly give you some options to explore for yourself.
For many people medication is the right option, because studies repeatedly show it should be the first recommended treatment for panic disorder. Also, there are multiple choices of medication depending on your individual case, so even if you don’t feel better with one, there are others that might work better.
however, medication is not the answer to everyone’s panic disorder. It is rarely ever the only thing that helps. Most people get the greatest benefit when it is combined with a good diet, family support, good friends and productive lifestyle changes. All of which a medication cannot help with, but a psychologist can. Small improvements in every one of these other aspects of life can improve the outcome and quality of life for people struggling with panic disorder.
2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is talking therapy. Since a lot of people (17-64%) do not respond to medication, CBT is another option. It’s also an option for people who, for personal reasons, do not want to try medication. For panic disorder, CBT is provided in either individual or group sessions with a trained psychologist. The psychologist’s job is to guide discussion to show how your feelings of panic can be directly linked to the way you think. “What were you thinking about? What do you think might have triggered the episode?” According to CBT theory, if you routinely use CBT strategies to analyse and tackle your thought patterns, you will also begin to alleviate the panic feelings and other symptoms until they go away completely.
Does it work? Evidence has shown so many times that CBT is better than other treatments and much better than no treatment at all. This means that whether it’s the ideal treatment for you or not, you will still benefit significantly from a course of CBT.
3. Both Medication and CBT
Most people get better with either medication or CBT, leaving just 20-40% still unable to fully recover from panic disorder. If recovery is not achieved with just one, studies suggest that the best outcomes can be achieved by combining the two together. This rule of combining treatments is the same in depression, anxiety and all kinds of other mental health issues, as well as physical health issues. For instance, did you know that guided meditation can improve fertilisation success for people undertaking In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)? The same is true in panic disorder; a combination of medication with CBT delivered by one of our trained therapists is the ideal path to a better future for you.
Making psychotherapy “work” is also dependant on the supportive role that the psychotherapist takes. This role can enhance the effects of ‘pure’ CBT to make it even more effective. Having a connection with your therapist can break down barriers and give you the confidence to know you are working with people who understand you. The International Psychology Clinic offers the personalised service you need, that is tailored to your cultural background.