Treatment for Chronic Panic Attacks

About Panic Disorder

Understanding the Anxiety

Anxiety is defined as the mental activity of worry about future events plus the resulting emotional and physical changes. Anxiety is normal. Without anxiety, we would have no warning or alarm system, and we would, as a result, be unprotected.

Immediate anxiety is termed the fight or flight response. When faced with a danger, the response must be automatic and immediate to protect the individual. In today's world, anxiety and stress can come from a difficult situation at work or home, or from things like worries about failing. Before one stressor goes away, another may present itself. So stress and anxiety can build up.

Understanding Panic Attacks — Fight or Flight!

Panic, like anxiety, is part of a normal, biological system that acts as an alarm. Panic is an immediate response to a real or perceived threat.

While the fight or flight response is critical to protect us in moments of extreme danger, when a person feels this response at an inappropriate time, it is known as a panic attack and is characterized by sudden and unexpected periods of intense fear or discomfort associated with shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, nausea, or abdominal distress. During a panic attack people may believe that they are having a heart attack or stroke, that they are suffocating, or that they are losing their mind. Over 27 million people in the US suffer from panic attacks each year.

In addition, research has found that people with panic attacks are frightened of the actual physical sensations of the fight or flight response. When the brain cannot find any obvious danger, it turns its search inward and invents a danger such as "I am dying, losing control, etc." causing excessive worry and often costly ER visits.

Panic Attack Symptoms

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Trembling/Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Dizzy or light headed
  • Feeling of being detached from yourself
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensation (esp. in fingers/toes)
  • Chills or hot flashes

When is Panic a Disorder?

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder in which the person experiences recurring panic attacks and is concerned about having future attacks. More than 6 million American adults are diagnosed with panic disorder every year. People with panic disorder are often depressed, and are at risk of substance abuse and suicide. Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia can be a debilitating condition, and if severe enough, an individual may even become housebound. Agoraphobia is defined as a fear of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available and is often a consequence of having panic attacks or panic disorder.

For many people who suffer from panic disorder, there is a physical component that can be addressed. Research has shown that many who suffer with Panic Disorder breathe in a way that makes them more likely to have a panic attack. They breathe this way all the time, not only during panic attacks.

Our Therapists Can Help

We offer several approaches to help people with panic disorder, including short-term therapy, and medication. Contact us today to get start your program for the advanced treatment of panic disorder and panic attacks.

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