The purpose of this study is to understand some of the reasons why recently deployed
veterans decline psychosocial treatment options for panic disorder and to test a brief
weekend treatment for panic attacks.
The population of interest for this program includes men and women returning from deployment
in Iraq or Afghanistan who are seen in the TRP at the MEDVAMC. The study consists of two
parts: PART 1 involves a qualitative investigation of treatment-seeking barriers specific to
persons who refuse standard treatments and PART 2 is a pilot intervention to treat panic
symptoms in service members who have co-existing PTSD symptoms. PART 1 will include
approximately 15 individuals who will be interviewed by a member of the study staff.
Patients will be interviewed individually following a semi-structured questionnaire designed
to help identify treatment-seeking barriers. PART 2 will include 8 individuals who will be
enrolled in an open-trial of a two-day intensive cognitive-behavioral treatment for panic
disorder, which will occur over the weekend. No participants will be assigned to a control
condition. All activities related to this project including the interviews and intervention
will be delivered in either the TRP at the MEDVAMC or at the Houston Center for Quality of
Care and Utilization Studies (HCQCUS), a nearby facility.
2. age 18-74;
3. current diagnosis of panic disorder;
4. PTSD symptoms that either meet full diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) or are at a sub-clinical level.
Sub-clinical PTSD is defined as patients who meet either PTSD criteria B and C or B
and D, but fail to meet all three;
5. panic disorder and PTSD present for at least 1 month;
6. PART 1 only: patients who are clinically eligible to participate in the study and
refuse standard psychosocial treatments (e.g., 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral
therapy) for panic disorder.
1. Current substance dependence;
2. diagnosed with bipolar disorder or psychosis;
3. current suicidal/homicidal ideation and intent;
4. severe depression (precluding participation in a research study);
5. panic attacks related only to a diagnosis of a specific phobia;
6. medical conditions mimicing anxiety (e.g., mitral valve prolapse);
7. PART 1 only: patients who are clinically eligible for the study and are willing to
engage in a minimum of 12 weeks of psychosocial treatment for panic disorder.