Panic Disorder Studies
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of three types of therapies in treating Panic Disorder: panic focused psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and applied relaxation therapy.
Rationale for the Study
The Cost of Panic Disorder
Panic disorder (PD) is a serious public health problem. Compared to the general population, patients with PD report poorer physical and emotional health, higher prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse, and a higher prevalence of attempted suicide. Because many of the physical sensations that are characteristic of panic attacks, such as dizziness, heart palpitations, chest pain, dyspnea, and abdominal pain, are symptoms for which treatment from primary care physicians is typical, PD patients also frequently confront inflated medical expenditures, as they seek medical attention for their somatic panic attacks. Patients with PD account for 20-29% of all emergency room visits and are 12.6 times as likely to visit emergency rooms as the general population. PD patients have the highest rate of morbidity and health care utilization relative both to patients with any other psychiatric diagnosis and also to patients with no psychiatric diagnosis.
The Benefits of Effective Treatment
Effective treatment of PD has been shown to offset costs of medical care by as much as 94 percent. There is reasonable evidence that the three therapies included in this study are beneficial treatments for panic disorder. The goals of this study are twofold. First we seek to compare the efficacy of these three treatments. Second, we seek to determine whether patient characteristics can be identified that would suggest one treatment would be better for a given patient than another. Because panic patients often prefer psychotherapy treatments to medication, and because patients often relapse if they discontinue medication, there is a compelling need to test nonpharmacological efficacious treatments for patients with PD. The project’s goal is to identify treatments that engender as full a response as possible and minimize relapse,
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