Mild panic disorder can affect quite a sizeable proportion of people, is associated with a large burden of disease and generates considerable economic costs to society yet little research has been done into early interventions designed to nip the problem in the bud before it gets worse. Peter Meulenbeek from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam led a team of researchers studying the effectiveness of a group-therapy programme called 'Don't Panic!' based on cognitive-behavioural principles that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of full-blown panic disorder. 217 people participated in the study, 109 went on the 'Don't Panic!' course and 108 were placed on a waiting list as part of a control group. 39% of people on the 'Don't Panic!' course showed a clinically-significant improvement compared to only 16% on the control group and the benefits of the treatment lasted at least six months.
Meulenbeek, Peter ... [et al] - Early intervention in panic: pragmatic randomised controlled trial British Journal of Psychiatry April 2010, 167(4), 326-331