Posts Tagged ‘personality features’

Panic Disorder—Behavioral Treatment

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

 

This is generic advice and may not be suitable for you individually.  Please see your health care provider to determine what is best for you.

 

The basic behavioral approach to treat panic disorder from a behaviorist point of view is quite simple and very effective.  In general, having the client “self-monitor” reduces the incidence of panic attacks by approximately 50%.  Here’s how I do it:

 

We start out with having the client keep a “panic log.”  We want to achieve a “baseline” number of panic attacks so that we have a yard stick against which we can measure our progress.  This is observable and enumerable (one can count the number of panic attacks.) and from this initial data, we can compare the results of our interventions. 

 

However, just having the client keep such a log and observe themselves is an intervention in & of itself.  Just from this homework assignment we often see a reduction in the occurrence of panic attacks and the development of insight into managing one’s self in order to diminish the occurrence and severity of panic attacks.

 

The client’s assignment includes keeping specific data about the date and time of each panic attack, logging the antecedents (what occurred just before the onset) and the consequences (what was the resolution), the quality (symptoms) and quantity (duration).  The more details we assign the client to track and write down, the better the results.

 

From this we obtain a baseline, that is, the initial rate of panic attacks prior to beginning treatment.  Remember, exercises in self-observation tend to become interventions in & of themselves.  Therefore, we often see an improvement in the first week; however, sometimes, especially when fueled by personality traits & features, there may be an exacerbation in panic attacks.

 

Furthermore, I also do an intake assessment of what the client has done to do to resolve his or her panic attacks that has not worked and how much caffeine the client ingests.  I have seen a correlation in clinical practice as almost half of my clients who complained of panic attacks had comorbid problems with caffeine. 

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has much to offer those who suffer from Panic Disorder.  See my earlier blog postings and archived shows.