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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


Panic attacks: what they are and what to do about them is a course that should be helpful to anyone who experiences panic or panic attacks, for their family and friends, and anyone more generally interested in mental health and mental health treatment.


This course, Panic attacks: what they are and what to do about them, is focused on panic attacks. We all feel anxious or scared sometimes but it is when anxiety and fear become uncontrollable when a person begins to really panic, that things move beyond ‘normal’ or everyday experience of worry. And when this experience of panic begins to be a repeated one, when anxiety feels unmanageable, it may be time to start looking for help. In exploring these issues in this course you will focus on three questions:
  1. What are panic attacks and panic disorder?
  2. How can the panic disorder be understood?
  3. What can be done about panic disorder?

A caution

Panic attacks are very common and it is possible that you have experienced them yourself. If this is the case, increasing your knowledge about panic attacks and how to handle them should help. But focusing on the topic of panic could – particularly as you start reading – make you feel edgy. Usually, this feeling will subside as you concentrate on the readings and activities, so it is worth keeping going. However, do also take steps to look after yourself.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Provide a definition of panic and panic attack
  • Understand aspects of the personal experience of panic attacks
  • Understand some key ideas about why people have panic attacks
  • Know where someone experiencing panic attacks might get help or help themselves.

Course Curriculum

    • What are panic attacks and panic disorder? 00:30:00
    • Experience of panic disorder 00:20:00
    • How can panic attacks be understood? 00:05:00
    • Cognitive theory of panic disorder 00:30:00
    • The role of interpretations in panic attacks 00:15:00
    • The role of avoidance 00:10:00
    • What can be done about panic disorder? 01:05:00
    • Conclusion 00:05:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK