doi 10.9769/EPJ.2020.12.1.SLSSylvia Lindinger-Sternart, University of Providence, Great Falls,Montana, USA
Chelsie Dollar, Great Falls, Montana, USA
Sachin Jain, University of Providence, Montana, USA
Jared Roberts, University of Providence, Montana, USA
Purpose: Panic disorder is a disabling condition associated with reduced quality of life and impaired functioning. It is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States and several European countries, and causes a significant burden of
disease on impacted families. Typically, women have double the prevalence rate of anxiety-related disorders as compared to men. This preliminary study aimed to explore whether Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) offers potential as a treatment to reduce fear of future panic attacks in women who suffer from panic attacks. Eight women participated in the study. Outcomes were measured using the Subjective Units of Distress(SUD) scale and the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale(PAS). Results indicated reductions in both SUD and PAS scores at pre- and post-intervention, though not statistically significant, likely due to the small sample size. Nonetheless, the findings of this study support preliminary evidence that EFT may offer potential as a treatment for women
with panic disorder. Further research to confirm statistical significance and long-term impacts of EFT needs to be conducted.
Method: The current preliminary study adopted a one-group pre test, post test quasi-experimental A-B-A design, using the subjects themselves as their own control group.
Results: The participants ranged from 35 to 53 years of age with a mean age of 43.75 years (SD 5.82) and median of 44 years, which is consistent with the literature that anxiety and panic encompasses all age brackets (Flint & Gagnon, 2003; Smoller et al., 2003; Yonkers, Bruce, Dyck, & Keller, 2003; Yonkers et al., 1998). Eight participants completed the demographic questionnaire, which included medications taken daily. Although all the participants were on medications, only five participants took medication for anxiety. Several different types of medicines or supplements were used by participants such as SSRIs, benzodiazepines, and magnesium, which is consistent with standards and guidelines for treating anxiety and panic
disorders (Faria et al., 2012; Flint & Gagnon, 2003; Van Apeldoorn et al., 2014). Among the treatments besides medications, the most popular intervention was yoga and deep breathing. Participants reported an average caffeine intake of 1.125 cups per day (SD 1.13) with a range of 0 to 3 cups per day and median of 1 cup per day. Participants’ caffeine intake was similar to consumption patterns of the general population and can be eliminated as a variable that may influence this study’s results. This approach is consistent with the literature from the American Psychiatric Association (2013).
Conclusion: To date, this is the first research study completed to determine whether EFT can assist with the reduction of fear of future panic attacks in
women. The results showed a decrease in the PAS scores from the first day to the last day after four 60-minute sessions of group EFT. In addition, the SUD scores also showed a decrease not only from start of each session to end of each session but also from the first EFT session to the end of the last session, indicating the participants’ fear of having a future panic attack decreased from the first session to the last session. Statistically significant results were not obtained, however,
likely due to the small sample size and high participant attrition rate. Nonetheless, this study offers preliminary support for the conducting of larger clinical trials to confirm the efficacy of EFT for treating fear of future panic attacks in women, as well as long-term impacts of EFT treatment on panic.
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