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Treatment Providers for Panic Disorder

Learn More About Professionals Who Treat Panic Disorder

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Updated February 27, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If you have decided to seek out treatment options for panic disorder, you may be wondering what types of professionals can treat panic disorder, panic attacks and agoraphobia. The following explains several treatment providers or mental-health specialists who are qualified to diagnose and treat panic disorder.

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are physicians who have attended medical school and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental-health disorders. Along with their demanding education, they are required to complete a training or residency in which they treat those with psychiatric disorders. Psychiatrists will have an M.D. or D.O. after their name to signify that they have earned the designation of doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). They must also successfully pass licensing exams and follow state licensing guidelines and requirements.

Psychiatrists have the ability to prescribe medications for panic disorder. They treat panic disorder through both medicine and therapeutic intervention. Additionally, psychiatrists also utilize assessment tools for testing and diagnostic purposes.

Psychologists

Psychologists are required to earn a doctorate degree, which is designated as a Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) or a Psy.D. (doctor of psychology) following their name. It is also possible for a psychologist to have an Ed.D. after their name, representing a doctorate in education. These professionals have completed their doctorate in clinical, counseling or research psychology. All psychologists are required to attend graduate school, in which they are trained in psychological theory, research, assessment and treatment. They are also required to complete a residency training and take a state licensing exam.

Much like psychiatrists, psychologists are trained in psychological assessment, diagnosis and treatment. However, psychologists are not qualified to prescribe medication for panic disorder or any other mental-health condition. Depending on their therapeutic orientation and training, psychologists may vary in what theories and techniques they use to help treat mental-health disorders.

Licensed Mental-Health Professionals

Other licensed mental-health professionals describe a broad category of qualified treatment providers for panic disorder. These licensed professionals have attended graduate school and earned a minimum of a master’s degree. They have been educated in assessment and treatment of mental-health disorders. Additionally, licensed mental-health professionals are able to conduct individual, couples, family and group counseling. Their training involves a holistic and preventive approach to mental health. Theoretical orientation and approach can vary depending on training, education and type of license. These professionals are required to complete a practicum and internship within their field. They are also required to pass licensing exams and follow state guidelines to become licensed and maintain their licensing.

Some of the most common licensed mental-health professionals and their abbreviated license designation include:

  • Licensed professional clinical counselor (L.P.C.C. or P.C.C.)
  • Licensed professional counselor (L.P.C. or P.C.)
  • Licensed marriage and family therapists (L.M.F.T.)
  • Licensed clinical social worker (L.C.S.W.)
  • Licensed mental health counselor (L.M.H.C.)

Who Should You See?

The type of professional you see may depend upon your resources and treatment needs. All mental health professionals should make you feel comfortable, answer your questions, and acknowledge your condition. You will be sharing a great deal of your personal stories and time with this person, so you should feel confident in your mental health provider. This professional should treat you with mutual respect and understanding and must be knowledgeable about panic disorder, panic attacks, and agoraphobia.

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