Search For A Cure
Scientific Breakthroughs & Caregiver Tips
How Is Panic Disorder Treated?
Given the proper treatment, many people who have been diagnosed with panic disorder are able to substantially control the occurrence of panic attacks or eliminate them entirely. Treatment of the disorder usually involves psychotherapy, medications, or both. The exact course of treatment prescribed in each case depends on factors such as the patient’s history and the severity and frequency of the panic attacks.
Several different medications may be used to treat and manage the symptoms of panic disorder. Individual medication plans are dependent on the preference of the patient, the patient’s responsiveness to treatments, the precise symptoms being experienced, and the severity of the symptoms.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs work by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. SSRIs used to treat panic disorder include fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline.
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These drugs work similarly to SSRIs in that they increase serotonin levels, but they also increase the level of norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter. SNRI venlafaxine is approved for the treatment of a panic disorder.
- Benzodiazepines. These drugs are used to treat anxiety, and they can be helpful in treating the symptoms of panic attacks. Benzodiazepines act more quickly than antidepressants, which typically take at least a week to have any effect, but patients may develop a resistance to benzodiazepines if they’re taken for a long period of time. Alprazolam and clonazepam are benzodiazepines commonly prescribed for panic disorder.
- Beta-blockers. These drugs are commonly used to treat high blood pressure, but they can be effective at controlling the physical symptoms of panic attacks. They have the advantage of being fast-acting.
The most common therapeutic approach used to treat panic disorder is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), an approach that focuses on helping the patient to identify a pattern of harmful thoughts and to construct strategies and solutions for dealing with them that don’t interfere with functionality.
In some cases, providers may try exposure therapy, in which patients are exposed to the triggers of their panic attacks in a controlled way. This therapy is aimed at addressing the fears underlying the panic attacks and allowing the patient to return to the activities or situations that they’ve avoided out of fear of an attack.
Make a Donation, Make a Difference
Your Donation Supports Crucial Brain Research
We have a direct connection with scientists so we are privy to projects in all stages of research. This gives us the insight to identify projects and allocate the dollars needed to find cures. Donate generously today to make a difference for future generations and your loved ones.
YOUR DONATION SAVES LIVES & BRINGS US CLOSER TO A CURE.
You Are Not Alone
For you or a loved one to be diagnosed with a brain disease or disorder, is overwhelming, and leads to a quest for support and answers to important questions. ABS has built a safe, caring and compassionate community for you to share your journey, connect with others in similar situations, learn about breakthroughs, and to simply find comfort.