Panic Control Treatment Proves Effective in Veterans with Panic Disorder and PTSD
The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral treatments for panic disorder in those with psychiatric comorbidity has not been well established. This study compares the effectiveness of panic control treatment (PCT) with that of a psycho-educational supportive treatment (PE-SUP) in treating panic disorder among 35 veterans with a primary diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PCT is a cognitive-behavioral therapy consisting of education, cognitive restructuring, and behavioral exercises; PE-SUP sessions provide information about the nature, etiology, and course of anxiety disorders within a supportive framework. Veterans participating in this study were recruited from one large VA hospital and randomized to receive individual sessions of either PCT or PE-SUP. Veterans in both groups also received standard care (e.g., medication, PTSD education, stress management). Using structured interviews and self-report questionnaires, investigators assessed veterans one week after treatment ended, and again at three months.
Findings show that significantly more veterans in the PCT group were panic free by the follow-up period compared with those in the PE-SUP group (63% vs. 19%). The PCT group also showed significant reductions in anxiety sensitivity compared with veterans in the PE-SUP group. This suggests that PCT was superior in reducing the frequency, severity, and distress associated with panic disorder and suggests that brief cognitive-behavioral therapy for panic is effective for veterans with PTSD.
Teng E, Bailey S, Chaison A, Petersen N, Hamilton J, and Dunn N. Treating Comorbid Panic Disorder in Veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology August 2008;76(4):704-710.
This study was funded through the South Central Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRRECC) and through HSR&D’s Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies (HCQCUS). All authors are part of HCQCUS.