Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New breathing therapy reduces panic and anxiety by reversing hyperventilation

21.12.2010
Breakthrough 'CART' treatment better than traditional cognitive therapy at altering hyperventilation and panic symptoms

A new treatment program teaches people who suffer from panic disorder how to reduce the terrorizing symptoms by normalizing their breathing.

The method has proved better than traditional cognitive therapy at reducing both symptoms of panic and hyperventilation, according to a new study.

The biological-behavioral treatment program is called Capnometry-Assisted Respiratory Training, or CART, said psychologist and panic disorder expert Alicia E. Meuret at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

CART helps patients learn to breathe in such a way as to reverse hyperventilation, a highly uncomfortable state where the blood stream operates with abnormally low levels of carbon dioxide, said Meuret, one of the researchers conducting the study.

Hyperventilation, a state of excessive breathing, results from deep or rapid breathing and is common in patients with panic disorders.

"We found that with CART it's the therapeutic change in carbon dioxide that changes the panic symptoms — and not vice versa," Meuret said.

CART: Breathing exercises twice a day

During the treatment, patients undergo simple breathing exercises twice a day. A portable capnometer device supplies feedback during the exercises on a patient's CO2 levels. The goal of these exercises is to reduce chronic and acute hyperventilation and associated physical symptoms. This is achieved by breathing slower but most importantly more shallowly. Contrary to lay belief, taking deep breaths actually worsens hyperventilation and symptoms.

"Most panic-disorder patients report they are terrified of physical symptoms such as shortness of breath or dizziness," Meuret said. "In our study, cognitive therapy didn't change respiratory physiology, but CART did effectively reduce hyperventilation. CART was proved an effective and powerful treatment that reduces the panic by means of normalizing respiratory physiology."

The findings, "Respiratory and cognitive mediators of treatment change in panic disorder: Evidence for intervention specificity," appeared in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Meuret, who developed CART, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at SMU and co-directs the department's Stress, Anxiety and Chronic Disease Research Program. The Beth & Russell Siegelman Foundation funded the research.

See www.smuresearch for related links and a video about CART. Get the video html from youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcQsJnLBWpE.

CART breathing a proven biological therapy

The study pitted CART against a conventional cognitive therapy treatment, or CT. Traditional CT teaches patients techniques aimed at helping them change and reverse catastrophic thoughts in order to reduce fear and panic.

In the CART-CT study, 41 patients were assigned to complete either a CART or CT treatment program for panic disorder and agoraphobia, a fear of being trapped with no means of escape or help.

Both treatment programs were equally effective in reducing symptoms, said Meuret. But CART was the only treatment to physiologically alter panic symptoms by actively reversing hyperventilation in the patients. Cognitive therapy didn't change the respiratory physiology, said Meuret.

Treatment helps patients address terror associated with panic

The study is the second randomized control trial to measure CART's effectiveness. By reversing hyperventilation, patients reported a new ability to reduce panic symptoms by means of changing their respiration.

With CT, Meuret said, if a patient reports shortness of breath, the therapist challenges the assumption by asking how often the person actually has suffocated during a panic attack, then hopes that will reverse the patient's thinking.

"I found that process very challenging for some of my patients because it acknowledges the symptom but says it's not a problem," Meuret said.

"CART, however, tells us a patient's CO2 is very low and is causing many of the symptoms feared, but it can also show how to change these symptoms through correct breathing. There has been an assumption that if people worry less about symptoms it will also normalize their physiology, but this study shows that this is not the case," she said. "Hyperventilation remains unchanged, which could be a risk factor for relapse down the road. Apart from hyperventilation being a symptom generator, it is an unhealthy biological state associated with negative health outcomes."

Broader study planned to measure CART

The researchers plan to branch out with their studies on CART by taking the program into the community, particularly to ethnic minorities. They believe CART is a more universally understood treatment due to its physical exercises — as opposed to cognitive therapy's more intellectual methods — and therefore more accessible to a broader range of people with varying levels of education and different cultural backgrounds. Ongoing studies will test the efficacy of CART in patients with asthma and fear of blood.

Co-authors of the study at SMU were David Rosenfield, associate psychology professor, and psychology graduate students Anke Seidel and Lavanya Bhaskara. Stefan G. Hofmann, psychology professor at Boston University, was also an author on the paper.

SMU is a private university in Dallas where nearly 11,000 students benefit from the national opportunities and international reach of SMU's seven degree-granting schools. For more information see www.smu.edu.

SMU has an uplink facility on campus for live TV, radio or online interviews. To speak with Dr. Meuret or to book an interview with her in the SMU studio, call SMU News & Communications at 214-768-7650.

Margaret Allen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.smu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>