Cognitive theoretical approaches to panic disorder

Psychological approaches to understanding panic disorder have revolved around the idea that the panic is in some way a "fear of fear" (Goldstein & Chambless, 1978). That is, people panic because they are threatened by the presence or potential presence of fear-related phenomenal states. There are a number of variations of the fear of fear hypothesis: Pavlovian interoceptive conditioning (Bouton, Mineka, & Barlow, 2001; Goldstein & Chambless, 1978; Razran, 1961; Seligman, 1988; Wolpe & Rowan, 1988); catastrophic misinterpretation of bodily sensations (Clark, 1986, 1996); and anxiety sensitivity (McNally, 1990; Taylor, 1999). In this section we will concentrate on the work of Clark because this is the main cognitive account of panic disorder; however, we shall also discuss some of the research on anxiety sensitivity where relevant.

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