Panic attacks can be very frightening. Panic attacks can make you feel as though you might be about to have a heart attack, collapse, or ‘go crazy’. They can also come ‘out of the blue’, and can be hard to predict. Although panic attacks aren’t actually harmful, because of their frightening nature, people can start to develop anxiety about panic attacks themselves. This is called ‘panic disorder’.
People with panic disorder have recurrent, unexpected panic attacks, worry about having more panic attacks, and make changes in their life to try and avoid having panic attacks. Panic disorder can be very disabling. Fortunately however, it can also be effectively treated with internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT).
Who will find this course useful?
This course has been developed for people who have symptoms of panic disorder (i.e., for people who have, are afraid of, and try to avoid, recurrent panic attacks).
The course is self-paced, so exactly how long it takes to complete is up to you. There are 6 lessons, and we recommend that you complete one lesson a week. There is a 5-day lockout period between some Lessons 2-6, to give you time to practise the skills and exercises. Once you start the course, you will have 3 months (90 days) to finish it. If you complete the course within this time, then you will be given an extra 12 months access to the material, to help you practice the skills and strategies you learned.
How much will it cost?
The course costs $AUD 59 (less than the average cost of one visit to a psychologist).
What type of support will I receive?
There are two ways you can do this course – supervised (i.e. prescribed by your doctor or therapist) or self-help. You will have access to the same material either way, but if you are supervised by your clinician, they will receive updates on your wellbeing and progress, and we hope that they will support you during this course. If you choose the self-help option, we will not provide you with any therapeutic support. Our courses are designed to enhance your motivation and self-reliance. However, we will give you IT support as needed (e.g. if you have trouble accessing one of the lessons).
How is the course structured?
You will learn the course content by following the illustrated story of Penny, a young woman with panic disorder. Throughout the course, you will follow Penny as she learns about what panic disorder is, how it works, and how it can be managed using evidence-based strategies.
You’ll complete evidence-based, online questionnaires before and throughout the course, to monitor your wellbeing. If you’re doing the supervised course, then the results of each questionnaire will be sent to your clinician. If you’re doing the self-help course, you won’t get specific questionnaire results, but you will get an email if your scores slip into a concerning range.
Practice Exercises and Extra Resources
Each lesson is accompanied by a Lesson Summary, which reviews the material covered in the lesson and helps you link this information to your own life. The Lesson Summaries also include practice exercises to help you learn the strategies covered in that lesson. This course also includes Extra Resources, for example, information on medication and tips for managing your mood.
The course has an online calendar, to help you stay on track. Schedule your next lesson using our online calendar and we’ll send you reminders for your next lesson.
At least two randomised controlled trials and one effectiveness study have concluded that completion of this course leads to a significant reduction in symptoms of panic disorder. Over 80% of people who completed this course were no longer trouble by panic disorder symptoms.
- Participants no longer troubled
- Website users no longer troubled
Allen AR et al, Internet cognitive behavioural treatment for panic disorder: a randomised controlled trial and evidence of effectiveness in primary care. British Journal of Psychiatry Open. 2016; 2: 154-162.
“I’m a nurse, and I thought I understood all about what panic attacks were, what caused them, and how to help control them.
I certainly didn’t think this would ever happen to me!
I couldn’t see the woods for the trees and needed direction and reinforcement to help me…
I’m certainly getting that from this course! I do have bad days, and sometimes it’s two steps forward and one backward, but I am letting this course help and guide me. I am feeling better!”
“When I first went to the doctor and she told me I was suffering anxiety and panic attacks, I thought she was mistaken!!
I was put on medication and offered the course. Of course I thought I did not need it, but to my surprise, I discovered that I was learning!
I discovered the breathing technique and putting it into action, and was able to start meeting up with friends and going to the shops, things that I had avoided for a long time.
My doctor is pleased with the results as they speak for themselves.”
“I have been experiencing panic attacks for the past year. At first I had no idea what they were, but after a while of experiencing breathlessness, nausea, feelings like “I’m going to die” and “I can’t control my thoughts”, I went to the doctor who told me I was having panic attacks.
After reading the first lesson and understanding that I am not alone, I am feeling hopeful that I can eventually control my anxiety and learn to enjoy my life without the worry of panic attacks occurring every day.”
“Before I started this course, I was certain that I was crazy and that eventually, despite what doctors and psychologists were telling me, my symptoms would prove to be precursors of something very dangerous.
The course helped me identify the symptoms of panic, and showed me that facing my fears was the only way to get my life back.
I still have a little way to go and I feel confident now that life will continue to get better.”
I see how my thoughts are far from real, and that they fall into more than one of the categories I’ve learnt about in this lesson. I am challenging my thoughts and when I look at the evidence against them, I smile.