What Are Some Common Misconceptions about Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia?

Some people incorrectly believe that panic disorder is a result of deep-seated psychological problems. Of course, anyone with or without panic may have deeper problems, but panic disorder and agoraphobia are not necessarily related to deeper psychological problems. You may become depressed, dependent, and self-critical because you have panic disorder-but panic, in itself, can be treated effectively without long-term therapy exploring your childhood experiences. People with panic disorder and agoraphobia often have unrealistic beliefs about anxiety, such as “All anxiety is bad” and “I have to get rid of my anxiety immediately.” Some of these people misinterpret their anxiety as a sign of a dangerous medical condition. Others believe that because they have had panic attacks and agoraphobia for many years-and because traditional therapy has not been helpful for these problems-they can never improve. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, with or without medication, is often quite effective in the treatment of panic disorder and agoraphobia.