THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SHORT-TERM INTENSIVE COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY ON SYMPTOMS SEVERITY OF PATIENTS WITH PANIC DISORDER
Background: Panic disorder (PD) is defined as a sudden rise in extreme fear or drastic distress appearing at a maximum level within minutes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the psychological treatment of patients with chronic PD. Despite more effectiveness and preferable cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of PD in comparison with pharmacotherapy, a considerable percentage of patients do not benefit from it due to too many and long sessions per week. Accordingly, this study aimed to examine the effectiveness of a group short and intensive (4 days) program of CBT on symptom severity in patients with PD with or without agoraphobia.
Patients and Methods: In the present clinical trial, the patients attended the author’s private clinic in Duhok city were consecutively screened for eligibility criteria. Of them, 40 patients diagnosed with PD with or without agoraphobia were randomized assigned into experimental (n=20) and control group (n=20) by a random digit number generated by a computer. The patients assigned into the experimental group received one-month intensive CBT; four two-hour sessions along with their regular medications; and the patients in the control groups received their regular treatments only. The symptom severity was assessed by the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) in both groups following the course completion.
Results: The patients in both groups of the study were comparable in age, gender, education, marital status, physical activity, history of child abuse, and occupation before starting and after finishing the course (P>0.05). The study showed that the severity and frequency of panic symptoms were significantly lower in the experimental group compared to the patients in the control group.
Conclusions: The study suggests that the short-intensive CBT programs can be effective to reduce the panic symptoms in patients with PD.
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