Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy of Panic Disorder With Secondary Major Depression: A Preliminary Investigation

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Abstract

Controlled studies indicate that cognitive–behavioral therapy eliminates panic attacks in greater than 80% of patients who suffer from panic disorder. However, because most of the screening procedures used in those studies called for excluding patients who were depressed, a question arises as to the extent to which these results apply to patients who are clinically depressed in addition to having panic attacks. Accordingly, an attempt was made in the present study to determine whether or not panic patients who are clinically depressed could be treated as successfully as those who are not clinically depressed. Two multiple baseline A–A1–A–B across-subjects designs were used, one to test 8 panic Ss with major depression and the second to test 7 panic Ss without major depression. In Baseline (A), Ss monitored their panic attacks daily. During the A1 phase, a program of information on panic attacks presented as psychotherapy was instituted to assess the effects of nonspecific factors, followed by a second baseline phase (A). Cognitive–behavioral therapy (B) was then introduced. Results showed that cognitive–behavioral therapy was significantly superior to information-based therapy in the reduction of panic attacks. No significant differences were found between depressed and nondepressed patients.

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