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When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life Hardcover – May 9, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 226 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Few truly great books on psychotherapy have been published, and this is one of them. When Panic Attacks tells you how to deal with all kinds of anxiety and with most other emotional problems. It is clearly and charmingly written.”
—Albert Ellis, Ph.D, founder of the Albert Ellis Institute and bestselling author of A Guide to Rational Living

“Another masterpiece from the author who helped millions help themselves with Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Dr. Burns’s elegant writing style, compassion, and humor translate powerful psychotherapy methods into accessible, practical, and helpful tools for the vast number of individuals who struggle with anxiety.”
—Henny Westra, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the York University Anxiety Research Clinic

From the Inside Flap

One in four Americans has unhealthy anxiety--that's over 73 million people. What have we turned to? Pills. Have they helped? The numbers say no. David Burns, M.D., knows what nobody else does: traditional therapy and drugs don't cure anxiety. But revolutionary new cognitive behavior therapies do, and Burns has developed clinically proven techniques. The road to a cure begins with discovering the stories we tell ourselves that make us worry--"If I'm late for the meeting I'll be fired and never find another job"; "
"There's no way on earth this plane can stay in the air." Burns provides an arsenal of techniques for exposing the lies and proving them wrong. Here you'll find:
-Methods for uncovering the sophisticated lies we tell ourselves that make us worry
-A cost/benefit analysis, for figuring out what you get--good and bad--out of hanging on to hangups and phobias
-Playful ways to test the lie that's making you afraid
The good news is that the techniques in his Anxiety Toolkit take 60 seconds to work. This is an indispensable guide for anyone who's spent sleepless nights imagining a workplace disaster, dreading a plane trip or public speaking engagement, or fretting about the safety of a loved one. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; First Edition edition (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767920716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767920711
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It probably sounds somewhat dramatic, but I can only recall two self-help books that had a drastic effect on my life-by giving me a reasonable relief from anxiety and depression. The first one, Mind over Mood, by Greenberger and the second one, Feeling Good Workbook by Dr. Burns. Both of these books are based on solid research, reason and practicality.

Almost 20 years since his workbook, Dr. Burns has finally written another book. To my disappointment and relief, it looks like he has nothing major to report. The good news is that after all these years of cognitive therapy evolution, there are still only 10 types of cognitive distortions. The bad news is that it takes only 10 to manage a perfect job to make you miserable.

Cognitive therapy is based on the premise that our own automatic and often unnoticed thoughts WITHIN us, not the events that happen TO US, scare us to death which in turn create a warped reality providing fertile soil for depression, anxiety, self-doubt, loneliness, and procrastination. Virtually everyone who is depressed or anxious is at mercy of these distorted thoughts. To get a relief, each distorted thought must be noticed and dealt with. As you can't relieve your hunger by just reading a cookbook, you must apply it to your own situation for at least 15 minutes a day 5 days a week. Once learned and practiced, the technique will offer you resilience to life's day-to-day challenges, unlike the antidepressants where the relief exists only while you take them.

Burns lists various applications to become aware, challenge and rewire your thought pattern and beliefs about yourself and the world. There is no magic, no parent-blaming, just common sense stuff dealing with the here-and-now.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Burns incorporates the last 25 years of research and clinical developments since writing the best-seller FEELING GOOD (strongly recommended as well.) He has written a book which markedly refines and elaborates on FEELING GOOD, rendering the Cognitive Therapy approach found in FEELING GOOD even more effective for quick and long-term relief from distressing emotional conditions, including depression, anxiety, anger, and low-self esteem.

In case you don't know, the book FEELING GOOD has been clinically proven to relieve major depression JUST FROM READING IT and following its instructions. I am confident that a clinical trial on WHEN PANIC ATTACKS would yield similar results for individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. The new book is very readable and far more versatile, and addresses some of the implicit gaps left from the former book.

WHEN PANIC ATTACKS easily stands on its own, and doesn't just address panic attacks, but rather every conceivable type of anxiety, including chronic worrying, phobias, agoraphobia, shyness, public speaking anxiety, writer's block, procrastination, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. As far as I am concerned, Dr. Burns should win a Nobel Prize for what he has accomplished here. Beginning with the "Daily Mood Log" --a sophisticated yet elegantly simple worksheet for documenting and combating one's emotional pain-- he has developed a veritable "technology" for overcoming even the most disabling of human emotions.

Why do we suffer? We suffer because we hold onto some core self-defeating beliefs (SDB's) that leave us rather vulnerable to painful mood swings. Accordingly, he identifies 23 common SDB's.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who struggled with panic attacks for over 25 years, I have read a lot of books about anxiety. I now plan to get rid of all of the others! I read Dr. Burns' Feeling Good at my lowest point last year and it was a lifeline for me. That book focuses more on depression, and while some of the information in it applied to anxiety, I kept wishing he would write a book specifically on anxiety. This book has advice and exercises for every type of anxiety. Whether you have job performance anxiety, social anxiety, fear of riding in elevators or having blood drawn, the tools you need to overcome your fears are in here.

The key is--and Dr. Burns reinforces this point--you have to do the exercises in order to feel better. This means actually writing your answers on paper. It also means, in many cases, facing your fears. His methods combine exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. His words are warm and humorous, and you will feel supported as you break down barriers you may have built up for years.

Dr. Burns has improved my life immeasurably. I, and all of my loved ones who have had to suffer along with me for so many years, are grateful! Buy this book and try the exercises.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Dr. Burns for a long time because he explains cognitive behavioral therapy/theory (CBT) so well and has plenty of techniques for using it. The main idea is that the way we think strongly influences how we feel and sometimes, how we act. When we can change our distorted ways of thinking, the door opens to greater happiness and satisfaction. Of course, when the door opens, you have to go through it, that is, you have to practice the techniques to gain the benefits.

Although I like his Feeling Good books, I like "When Panic Attacks" more because the writing is better. It flows more and is funny in places. It has much of the same material as in his earlier books, so you can benefit either way. This one is just easier to read.
Although CBT has helped me with depression and anxiety, it helped me A LOT with anger. Once I really accepted that no one died and made me queen, and that I didn't need to waste energy on trivial annoyances, I became calmer and easier to get along with and that has been a huge thing for me.
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