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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.

PubMed Logo 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.

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HSR requires notification by HSR-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR published articles. Visit the HSR citations database for a complete listing of HSR articles and presentations.

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