With treatment, the panic attacks can usually be stopped. Early treatment can prevent the complications of panic disorder such as agoraphobia, depression and substance abuse. The main treatment options for panic attacks are medications and psychotherapy.
Several types of medication, including SSRIs, have been shown effective in managing symptoms of panic attacks.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the principal type of psychotherapy used to treat panic attacks and panic disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps change thinking (cognitive) patterns that trigger fears and panic attacks. During therapy sessions, the person learns to recognize things that trigger panic attacks or make them worse, such as specific thoughts or situations. Ways to cope with the anxiety and physical symptoms associated with panic attacks are also taught. Breathing and relaxation techniques may be included.
Communication and collaboration among a child's family, school, and treatment professionals optimizes the care and quality of life for the child with panic disorder.