Over the course of six online lessons, the Panic Program uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to improve the symptoms of panic disorder.
The Panic Program consists of online lessons, homework assignments, group forum participation, and regular email contact with a clinician, all designed to treat panic disorder and agoraphobia. The six online lessons are the foundation of the program. Each lesson is grounded in CBT and focuses on psychoeducation, hyperventilation control, cognitive restructuring, and behavioral exposure. Additionally, an illustrated storyline follows a women receiving treatment for panic disorder. Homework assignments follow each lesson to help reinforce learning. Each user is also expected to post anonymously in online group discussion forums, which are moderated by a clinician. The clinician also emails each participant to provide support, encouragement, and track progress.
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Young Adults (18-30)
Summary: To examine the effectiveness of the Panic Program, this pilot study enrolled ten participants who met diagnostic criteria for panic disorder with agoraphobia. Participants were recruited via a research website. Each participant was given access to the Panic Program for nine weeks. Panic and agoraphobia symptoms were measured at pre- and post-treatment assessments. After nine weeks, 80% of participants had completed the Panic Program. Results indicated statistically significant decreases in both panic disorder and agoraphobia symptoms from the pre- to post-treatment. At the post-treatment assessment, only 30% of participants met criteria for panic disorder with agoraphobia. The average numbers of weekly panic attacks also decreased from 2.45 pre-treatment to 0.60 post-treatment.
Take Away: Despite the small sample size and absence of a control condition, this study provides initial evidence for the potential efficacy of the Panic Program for assisting in management of panic disorder systems.
Summary: The efficacy of the Panic Program was tested in this randomized controlled trial. Fifty-nine Australian participants were recruited through a research website and randomized to the Panic Program, or to a waitlist control. All participants met criteria for panic disorder with agoraphobia. Panic disorder symptom severity, agoraphobia, depression, and disability were measured one week pre-intervention, post-intervention, and one-month post-intervention. Seventy-nine percent of the Panic Program group completed the entire program. From pre- to post-intervention, the group receiving the Panic Program had significantly larger decreases in panic disorder symptoms, agoraphobia, depression, and disability compared to waitlist participants. Changes were sustained one-month post-intervention. The Panic Program had a large effect on panic disorder symptoms at both the post-intervention and one-month follow-ups.
Take Away: For adults with panic disorder and agoraphobia, the Panic Program demonstrated short-term impact for reducing panic and agoraphobia symptoms.