Academic journal article Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

Introduction

Academic journal article Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

Introduction

Article excerpt

In recent years there has been a marked increase in research on the causes and treatment of panic disorder. Initially this work concentrated on biological approaches and led to the extensive use of pharmacological treatments for panic. More recently coherent psychological models of panic have also been proposed and these have led to the development of effective cognitive-behavioral treatments for the disorder. The papers in this special issue, which arose from a symposium at the 1988 World Congress of Behavior Therapy, address a number of important issues in current psychological approaches to the understanding and treatment of panic.

The first two papers investigate whether panic patients show an excessive fear of anxiety-related sensations and tend to interpret these sensations in a catastrophic fashion. Ehlers finds that panic disorder patients report higher sensitivity to anxiety-related symptoms than patients with other anxiety disorders, and that this result cannot be explained simply in terms of differences in severity. Robinson and Birchwood investigate the link between catastrophic cognitions and the other components of panic disorder. As predicted, meaningful relationships between the thoughts and symptoms experienced during attacks are observed. Other studies have found that interpretation of bodily sensations as evidence of an impending physical or mental catastrophe is common in panic patients both with and without agoraphobia. However, Robinson and Birchwood find that panic disorder patients with marked avoidance have significantly stronger social-evaluative concerns. …

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