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Behav Res Ther. 1991;29(2):161-6.

Treatment of panic attacks using cognitive therapy without exposure or breathing retraining.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, England.


Cognitive treatment of panic attacks is based on the hypothesis that panic results from the catastrophic misinterpretation of bodily sensations, and that changing such misinterpretations will block the occurrence of panic. The treatment normally involves an integrated set of cognitive and behavioural techniques. In a consecutive series of panic patients, a multiple baseline across subjects design was used to investigate whether a modified form of treatment involving only cognitive procedures could reduce panic attack frequency. The results provide preliminary evidence that cognitive procedures directed at changing misinterpretations of bodily sensations can reduce panic attack frequency, and also that cognitive procedures which do not target misinterpretations may not reduce panic.

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