Bringing Medication-Free Options to Patients of Panic Disorders with Joe Perekupka and Dr. Robert Cuyler


PTSD affects 6.1-9.2% of the adult US population (Up To Date). Additionally, an estimated 4.7% of adults will experience a panic disorder in their lifetime (NIMH). Unfortunately, both disorders have high rates of becoming chronic and require difficult treatment programs and medications with adverse side effects.  

On this episode of Highway to Health, David Kemp talks to Joe Perekupka, CEO of Freespira, and Dr. Robert Cuyler, Chief Clinical Officer of Freespira, to discuss mental health and the drive behind Freespira’s drug-free PTSD treatments.   

Both guests apply habits to maintain mental wellness; they exercise their bodies to calm their minds. Dr. Cuyler distills it into “three ingredients, exercise, connection, and purpose. These are the three things that keep me grounded.” When treating trauma, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and PTSD, a great deal of information is available on medication and exposure therapy. Unfortunately, each has massive downsides. 

Dr. Cuyler noted, “the challenge is using treatments that are hard to tolerate.” Even when executed well, exposure therapy is challenging for a patient to complete. The guests cite a recent study that found that about half of the people admitted to exposure therapy studies did not finish the treatment.   

The other common path—medication—has a broad spectrum of results. Drugs have varying degrees of effectiveness from person to person and take a long time to reach the desired effect. Medications also have a vast range of known and unknown side effects. “Once the patient stops these medications, there’s a huge relapse in their symptoms coming back again,” said Perekupka. These factors are critical for the founding of Freespira and its mission. Listen to the entire podcast now. 

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