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Very Determined Panicker In The South

Question:

Thanks for being there for people with questions and concerns on mental health. I suffer from Panic Disorder and am trying to cure myself but need tools and direction. I have full blown panic attacks when I am driving on the highway or on narrow roads at night. I pull over and let the panic attack subside. It would be easy to avoid driving on the hwy or at night but do not want restrictions on my life. I’m too young and have too much to see and do in life. I have been on medications in the past but have gone off them by my choice. Where and how do you think I should start to overcome this lousy disorder? Sincerely, Very determined in the south

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
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Answer:

There are numerious schools of psychotherapy, and one of them is called “cognitive-behavioral”. Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is very practical in nature, addressing specific problems people presently face rather than delving into the past. It is also one of the more scientifically based therapies and programs developed in the cognitive-behavioral tradition are generally well studied and known to work as well or better than medication-derived alternatives. There are very good cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy programs developed to help people manage their panic attacks. These programs are typically administered by a psychologist over a several month period and do not involve medications. Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for panic has been extensively studied and is known to have a good success rate, often better over the long term than what any medication program can offer. As for a “cognitive-behavioral” trained therapist by name, as not just any psychotherapy program or therapist will offer such a good possibility of positive results.

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