Panic-Focused Psychotherapy Curbs Panic Attacks
by Denise Mann, HealthDay News
Feb 22nd 2007

A time-limited course of panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy may help alleviate some of the symptoms of panic disorder more than applied relaxation training, according to the results of a study in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Barbara Milrod, M.D., of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, and colleagues randomized 49 adults with panic disorder to receive panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy -- a 24-session, twice weekly form of therapy that emphasizes unconscious thought, free association and transference -- or applied relaxation training, a behavioral therapy that is related to cognitive behavioral therapy.

Patients who received the panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy showed a greater reduction in panic symptoms (panic attacks), limited symptom attacks, physical anxiety symptoms and avoidance. They also showed improvements in psychosocial functioning, compared with their counterparts in the applied relaxation training group. Patients in the panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy were also more likely to respond at treatment termination than those participants in the applied relaxation training group.

"Despite the small cohort size of this trial, it has demonstrated preliminary efficacy of panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy for panic disorder," the authors conclude.

Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)