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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

WebMD: Talk Therapy Curbs Panic Disorder

Study Shows Improvement in Anxiety and Other Panic Disorder Symptoms

By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News

Jan. 17, 2008 -- A 12-week course of talk therapy may help curb the often debilitating symptoms of panic disorder -- including intense fear, chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.

The new findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York City and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The psychodynamic psychotherapy regimen used in the study was so successful that the American Psychiatric Association is in the process of changing its guidelines to reflect the new findings, according to researcher Barbara Milrod, MD. Milrod is an associate attending physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and an associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

The twice-weekly sessions are focused on the symptoms of panic disorder as well as garnering insight about the various unconscious factors that may have caused the panic disorder to develop in the first place. Such focus on the unconscious is the basic underpinning of psychoanalysis.

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