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Does psycho therapy solve problems with depression and panic attacks?

Apr 28, 2017

I'm thinking if it can help me with my depression. thanks

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing. The very short answer to your question is yes, absolutely.

Those of us living with HIV are at a greatly increased risk for both depression and anxiety. Panic attacks, which often feel like a heart attack, can be extremely disturbing. The experience of being diagnosed with HIV and living with HIV, even today when medications control the virus, very often creates severe anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Psychotherapy can help by using cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you identify negative or counterproductive thoughts and change them, thereby changing the resulting emotions. This modality is often supplemented by other kinds of psychotherapy depending on other issues that may be present. For example, I have found that many people living with HIV who experience panic attacks also have a history of trauma. This must also be addressed in order to resolve anxiety and depression and improve your quality of life. Additionally your therapist will help you with mind-body tecniques like breathing, mindfulness, and progressive relaxation which can control these symptoms.

People often come to rely on medications that control anxiety (like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin). These drugs are highly effective for short-term, acute anxiety but they are also highly addictive and must be used with great caution.

All the best, David



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