binksDr. Peter Farvolden is Clinical Director of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Associates of Toronto where he provides cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children, adolescents and adults with mood and anxiety disorders. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and holds adjunct academic appointments in psychology at the University of Waterloo and Ryerson University. His professional activities include direct patient care, administration, research, consultation services and the development of evidence-based self-help programs for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Farvolden received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo and completed his pre-doctoral training at the Toronto General Hospital. He is the former Director of The Psychological Trauma Program and the Work, Stress and Health Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). His research interests include technology-based healthcare delivery and the cognitive behavioral treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.

Professional Affiliations
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Ontario Psychological Association Canadian Psychological Association

Previous Answers

SubjectQuestionMonth SubmittedUser
Panic Symptoms

I get more anxious when I start to have panic symptoms. How can I control this so that the cycle doesn’t get worse and I have a panic attack?
Sylvie - Bilingual Health Educator View Answer
Medication for Panic Disorders How effective is anti-anxiety medication in treating anxiety disorders? Sylvie - Bilingual Health Educator View Answer
PTSD Is PTSD curable and if so what is the best course of treatment?
Hippie Pixie View Answer
Panic Symptoms in Social Situations When I am in a small group, one on one with someone, or sitting in an auditorium surrounded by people I start to feel as if I am losing control of my body and am going to fall or collapse or that I physically can't even lift my glass at the table without shaking. I have a busy job that requires lots of interaction with others, so how can I make it through without them noticing? darmen88 View Answer
Bruxism and CBT Can you describe Bruxism, and whether CBT can cure it? hugs4U View Answer
long lasting panic attacks For the last 4 years I have been having panic/anxiety attacks that last for hours. These are happening more and more often. My symptoms are typical of panic attacks...nausea, chest pain, intestinal cramps, shaking, cold, heart palps, light headed, feel like I am dying. It originally took 1 mg ativan to ease them, now it takes 2 mg. of ativan and sometimes as long as 3 to 4 hours after taking the ativan before they ease up. Breathing in a paper bag and various other breathing techniques do not help. I have had thyroid tests and had echocardiogram and stress test. I know I have hypoglycemia, but I control it by eating every 3 hours. Have not found anything except I have premature atrial contractions. I went back into weekly therapy for 17 months and this did not help. I am an incest survivor and previously have done intensive therapy on this issue. I do not know how to help myself or where to look for help. I have done several CBT workbooks. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you. lins View Answer
CBT Hi Dr. Farvolden, My question is about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I know this is proven to be the best therapy for panic disorders and GAD. One of the main components is the exposure technique. Question: What if you have constant anxiety with physical symptoms but don't have any specific things that you avoid in your daily life, therefore no exposure opportunites. Would CBT still work for you without this technique? If not, what would be the best treatment in this type of situation? rain1999 View Answer
Herbal remedies I have panic symptoms from time to time, and am currently undergoing CBT on the Panic Center. I don't like taking SSRIs. The evidence for herbal remedies seems conflicting. Do you have any opinion on St. John's Wort or other reputed herbal remedies? Are they simply placebos? will_e View Answer
Constant state of anxiety I started having panic attacks a few months ago. Lately though, i am experiencing a constant feeling of anxiety and fear. A feeling that you get when your afraid or very worried. The butterfly sensation in stomach, head tingling, rapid heartbeat, no appetite, sometimes feeling like you cant breathe, feeling like your going to lose it. Its a constant feeling. I have recently had someone move in with me and i'm used to it being me and my boyfriend. I don't like being around other people alot, unless i want to. To have someone in my space is causing me this anxiety. How do you handle something like this when its constantly there? What can i do to help myself with these feelings. autumn-sky View Answer
Panic/Anxiety and Hormones Can hormones have an effect on panic and anxiety? I have recently been diagnosed with ovarian cysts which cause hormonal issues. Can this contribute to my anxiety? I have noticed more anxiety since I was diagnosed. Sunflower Painter View Answer
caffeine and anxiety Can you elaborate on what the research says re: link between caffeine and anxiety or panic attacks? I admit, i don't want to cut out caffeine entirely because I enjoy 2 cups in the AM but I would cut it out completely if there is evidence to suggest it will help manage anxiety. loves trees View Answer
Forgetting past panic attack experiences I had recently become very anxious about going out with friends as I experienced a couple of panic attacks when out with them. I came to a point when cause of fear of panic attacks I had stopped socializing completely. However after realising that CBT is the only approach through which I can overcome my anxiousness and fear I started following it. I made tremendous progress as I did not experience any panic attacks and therefore became less anxious. My problem now is that I am not able to forget my past panic attack experiences. Can you suggest a way in which I can help myself bury the past? These memories are causing more discomfort than the actual problem i was dealing with. jainrishabh849 View Answer
Not sure what it is... Dear Dr. Peter Farvolden, I've been very tired the passed few weeks, but each time I try to sleep, a sudden adrenaline rush wakes me. I constantly feel tingling sensations mostly in my arms and around the chest area. My doctor said I have mitral valve prolapse, but I don't know if it has anything to do with my problem. I've been experiencing anxiety-like symptoms (pounding heart, trembling, fear of dying) for the passed 3-4 years. These sudden attacks are really interfering with my college studies. Please help. Thank you so much. Kyle khuang3 View Answer
fainting and panic attacks I have read your introduction to panic attacks and it says that fainting does not occur because of a panic attack. However, I have fainted a number of times, and my family doctor has had me take numerous heart and brain tests to determine if there is a physical problem, but all the tests have come back negative. All the symptoms I experience prior to fainting are identical to those listed for panic attacks (it happens only in certain situations like airplanes or theaters, I have trouble breathing, I want to escape or run out of a room, feel hot and sweaty...), and I don't always faint when I have these symptoms. Isn't my occasional fainting connected to my panic attacks? If not, then whey do I faint? dabm5678 View Answer
Conflicting Information - Heart Danger Dear Dr. Farvolden, I hope you can give me some clarification. Many sources say that panic attacks are not dangerous for one's heart - in fact, this website says the following: "Myth 5: I’m going to die! The Facts: Although many of the symptoms experienced during a panic attack are similar to the symptoms experienced during a heart attack, a panic attack does not cause physical damage to your heart. The symptoms are uncomfortable but they are not dangerous. A panic attack will not kill you." On the other hand, when I have panic attacks, my heart sometimes beats at upwards of 180 beats per minute. Two different doctors have said to me that when the heart is beating at those speeds, there is always a risk it could start fluttering - atrial or ventricular fibrillation - which actually could be dangerous or fatal. I'm confused and don't know what to think. It would be comforting to believe I'm not in serious danger, yet I need to know if risks are real - to make informed judgements about how to treat an attack and whether to call for help. Can you shed some light on this? Thank you very much, Alex -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- aekimchee View Answer
anxiety and panic.... Hello, I have been having a lot of issues with panic and anxiety...seems it all started a couple months back... Question...if it's in our thought patterns, then why does every doctor want to put people on anti depressants? Is the anxiety/panic due to a chemical imbalance? Or is it due to thought patterns being disruted? Thanks Bren bren67 View Answer
Am I healthy? hi im 20 years old ive been to several doctors had ecgs and bloodwork everything came back normal. but i just cant convince myself im healthy i always worried im going to die or have a heart attack or any pain or twinge i have i think its something serious and think im dying i just want to get these thoughts out of my head.. please help me Demo1 View Answer