How Therapy Can Help Heal Panic Attacks

Mind over Matter: How Therapy Can Help Heal Panic Attacks

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden and unexpected periods of intense fear or discomfort that can include physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, and trembling. These attacks can be debilitating and interfere with daily life, making it difficult to carry out normal activities. If you or someone you know is struggling with panic disorder, it can be helpful to understand that treatment options are available and that therapy can be an effective way to manage and overcome the condition.

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What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that affects around 2-3% of the population. It is characterized by recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden and unexpected periods of intense fear or discomfort that can include physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, sweating, trembling, dizziness, and feelings of impending doom. These attacks can be debilitating and interfere with daily life, making it difficult to carry out normal activities, such as going to work, school or even running errands.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

In addition to panic attacks, people with panic disorder may also experience anticipatory anxiety - feeling anxious about having a panic attack again in the future. They may also experience agoraphobia which is fear of leaving a safe place or area, in fear of experiencing a panic attack. This can lead to avoidant behavior and difficulty in carrying out daily activities. People with panic disorder may also have symptoms of anxiety and worry between attacks, which can lead to further difficulties in carrying out activities of daily living.

How therapy can help?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that has been found to be particularly effective for treating panic disorder. This type of therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to the development and maintenance of anxiety. The goal is to teach individuals to change their response to anxiety-provoking situations by learning to challenge and reframe negative thoughts and beliefs.

One technique that is commonly used in CBT for panic disorder is called "exposure therapy." This involves gradually exposing the individual to the feared situation or object in a controlled setting, while teaching them to manage and reduce their anxiety response. This can help reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks and improve overall functioning.

Another technique that's common in CBT is called “Relaxation techniques” which include breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques that can help to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety and improve overall well-being. Relaxation techniques can help individuals to reduce muscle tension, slow down their heart rate, and decrease feelings of anxiousness. This can empower individuals to feel more in control and better able to manage panic attacks when they occur.

Conclusion

Panic disorder can be a debilitating and distressing condition, but it is treatable. Therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, can be an effective way to manage and overcome panic attacks. By learning to challenge and reframe negative thoughts and beliefs, and learning relaxation techniques, people with panic disorder can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

It's important to remember that seeking help early is crucial, so don't hesitate to reach out to a one the Human Integrated Performance Mental Health professionals if you or someone you know is struggling with panic disorder.

FAQ

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden and unexpected periods of intense fear or discomfort that can include physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, and trembling.

How can therapy help with panic disorder?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that has been found to be particularly effective for treating panic disorder. This type of therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to the development and maintenance of anxiety. Techniques like exposure therapy and relaxation techniques can be used to help reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks and improve overall functioning.

Are there any other treatments available for panic disorder?

Yes, in addition to therapy, medication such as anti-anxiety medications, or antidepressants can be effective in managing symptoms of panic disorder. However, it's important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for you, as therapy and medication may also be used in conjunction with each other. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, and adequate sleep, healthy eating and avoiding smoking can also complement the treatment of panic disorder and improve overall well-being.

 

 

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