The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of augmenting CBT with cognitive bias modification — a new and promising means of reducing cognitive biases thought to underlie the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders — in the treatment of panic disorder. All participants will receive seven sessions of CBT. During their CBT visits, half of the participants will receive cognitive bias modification; the other half will complete a placebo task.
Men and women at least 18 years old with a primary diagnosis of panic disorder, as evaluated by the SCID for DSM-IV criteria.
Participants cannot have agoraphobia that limits their ability to travel to weekly sessions. A lifetime history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or psychosis also prohibits participation. Participants cannot be at current risk of suicide, or have had an eating disorder or substance or alcohol abuse or dependence within the last six months. Serious or unstable medical illness also prohibits participation.
Psychotropic medication is permitted if the participant has been on medication for at least six weeks, and has been on a stable dose of medication for at least four weeks.
Within the last three months, participants cannot have received psychotherapy directed at the treatment of panic disorder.
Prior non-response to adequately delivered exposure therapy also disqualifies.