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Panic Disorder: Not Just a Biological Problem

July 05, 1994

I could agree only with the headline of Dennis McLellan's Sunday profile on May 29, "Enough Is Enough." The rest of the article does a disservice to your readers in falsely implying that panic disorder is a purely biological problem awaiting the proper medication. In fact, the most successful treatment for panic disorder is a cognitive behavioral treatment developed at Oxford University in England. Carefully controlled studies at universities throughout the world demonstrate that this treatment is effective for 80% of people suffering from panic disorder with less than 5% relapse at the two-year follow-up. In contrast, studies of medication treatments of panic disorder typically show 70% to 95% relapse within six months of discontinuing the medication.

Your readers should know that panic disorder has one of the highest psychotherapy success rates of any psychological problem. It is not necessary to resort to untested treatments when highly effective treatments already exist.

CHRISTINE A. PADESKY

Director, Center for Cognitive Therapy

Newport Beach

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