What Are Some Treatment Options for Panic Disorder?


Quick Answer

Doctors treat patients with panic disorders by using psychotherapy and medications, notes Mayo Clinic. They base specific treatment plans on patients' preferences, the severity of their symptoms, histories and whether they can access appropriate psychiatric care.

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Doctors often choose to treat patients with panic disorder using psychotherapy, in which they teach patients to understand panic attacks and disorders and how to live with them, according to Mayo Clinic. Psychiatrists may use cognitive behavioral therapy to help patients with panic disorders recreate attacks safely, gradually lessening patients' psychical reactions. People may have to participate in psychotherapy for several months and continue with maintenance appointments before symptoms of panic disorders dissipate. Those who are successful in treatment may also overcome their fear of situations that led to past panic attacks.

Doctors prescribe drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and benzodiazepines to patients with panic disorders, states Mayo Clinic. Doctors generally prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, to treat panic attacks, as these drugs have a low risk of serious side effects. They may also prescribe antidepressant serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs to treat those with panic disorders. Benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system, and doctors prescribe them for one-time use to treat panic attacks in emergency rooms, or for use in the short-term due to the possibility of severe side effects.

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