Indexed on: 07 Dec '17Published on: 06 Dec '17Published in: Depression and Anxiety
No studies of psychotherapies for panic disorder (PD) have examined effects on comorbid personality disorders (PersD), yet half such patients have a PersD.In a randomized trial for PD with and without agoraphobia comparing Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Panic-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (PFPP), PersD was assessed pre-to-post treatment with the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnosis of Axis-II Disorders (SCID-II). For patients completing therapy (n = 118, 54 with PersD), covariance between panic and SCID-II criteria improvements was analyzed. SCID-II diagnostic remission and recovery were evaluated. Comparative efficacy of PFPP versus CBT for improving PersD was analyzed both for the average patient, and as a function of PersD severity.37 and 17% of PersD patients experienced diagnostic PersD remission and recovery, respectively. Larger reductions in PersD were related to more panic improvement, with a modest effect size (r = 0.28). Although there was no difference between treatments in their ability to improve PersD for the average patient (d = 0.01), patients meeting more PersD criteria did better in PFPP compared to CBT (P = .007), with PFPP being significantly superior at 11 criteria and above (d = 0.66; 3 more criteria lost).PersD presenting in the context of primary PD rarely resolves during psychotherapies focused on PD, and change in PersD only moderately tracks panic improvements, indicating non-overlap of the constructs. Patients receiving panic-focused psychotherapies may require additional treatment for their PersD. PFPP may be superior at improving severe PersD, but replication of this finding is required.