therapy for panic attacks
Do you have the problem of feeling a sudden panic attacks?
We have the solution.
A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart pounds and you can’t breathe. You may even feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Left untreated, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder and other problems. They may even cause you to withdraw from normal activities. But panic attacks can be cured and the sooner you seek help, the better. With treatment, you can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of panic and regain control of your life.
Signs and symptoms of a panic attack
Panic attacks often strike when you’re away from home, but they can happen anywhere and at any time. You may have one while you’re in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or sitting on the couch at home.
The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes, and they rarely last more than an hour.
A full-blown panic attack includes a combination of the following signs and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations or a racing heart
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Trembling or shaking
- Choking feeling
- Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot or cold flashes
- Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy
Treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder
Panic attacks and panic disorder are treatable conditions. They can usually be treated successfully with self-help strategies or a series of therapy sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally viewed as the most effective form of treatment for panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering the panic attacks. It helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light.
For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.
Exposure therapy for panic attacks and panic disorder
In exposure therapy for panic disorder, you are exposed to the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping. You may be asked to hyperventilate, shake your head from side to side, or hold your breath. These different exercises cause sensations similar to the symptoms of panic. With each exposure, you become less afraid of these internal bodily sensations and feel a greater sense of control over your panic.
If you have agoraphobia, exposure to the situations you fear and avoid is also included in treatment. As in exposure therapy for specific phobias, you face the feared situation until the panic begins to go away. Through this experience, you learn that the situation isn’t harmful and that you have control over your emotions.
Medication treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder
Medication can be used to temporarily control or reduce some of the symptoms of panic disorder. However, it doesn't treat or resolve the problem. Medication can be useful in severe cases, but it should not be the only treatment pursued. Medication is most effective when combined with other treatments, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, that address the underlying causes of panic disorder.
The medications used for panic attacks and panic disorder include:
- Antidepressants. It takes several weeks before they begin to work, so you have to take them continuously, not just during a panic attack.
- Benzodiazepines. These are anti-anxiety drugs that act very quickly (usually within 30 minutes to an hour). Taking them during a panic attack provides rapid relief of symptoms. However, benzodiazepines are highly addictive and have serious withdrawal symptoms, so they should be used with caution.
Self-help tips for panic attacks and panic disorder
When it comes to panic attacks, professional treatment and therapy can make a big difference. But there are many things you can do to help yourself, too:
- Learn about panic. Simply knowing more about panic can go a long way towards relieving your distress. So read up on anxiety, panic disorder, and the fight-or-flight response experienced during a panic attack. You’ll learn that the sensations and feelings you have when you panic are normal and that you aren’t going crazy.
- Avoid smoking and caffeine. Smoking and caffeine can provoke panic attacks in people who are susceptible. As a result, it’s wise to avoid cigarettes, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages. Also be careful with medications that contain stimulants, such as diet pills and non-drowsy cold medications.
- Learn how to control your breathing. Hyperventilation brings on many sensations (such as lightheadedness and tightness of the chest) that occur during a panic attack. Deep breathing, on the other hand, can relieve the symptoms of panic. By learning to control your breathing, you develop a coping skill that you can use to calm yourself down when you begin to feel anxious. If you know how to control your breathing, you are also less likely to create the very sensations that you are afraid of.
- Practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly, activities such as yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation strengthen the body’s relaxation response—the opposite of the stress response involved in anxiety and panic. And not only do these relaxation practices promote relaxation, but they also increase feelings of joy and equanimity. So make time for them in your daily routine.
Are You Tired of Panic Attacks Controlling
- Are you afraid to go outside your home?
- Do you feel unease when in unfamiliar places for fear that you might have a panic attack?
- Do you ever suddenly feel overcome with fear or dread for no reason?
- Has your heart raced and pounded so hard that you thought that you were going to die?
Panic attacks were ruining my life!!!!
We would like to help you be free of panic and terrible feelings such as a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms (diaphoresis), tunnel vision, or feeling like your thoughts are racing.
You may not know what is happening when you experience those feelings and you are unsure of where they come from and how to stop them. We can help you find relief!
You may have thoughts that you will do or say something embarrassing or that you are going crazy. Maybe you even experience shortness of breath, shaking or trembling and really fear that you are about to die. Therapy can help you return to a safe place and get rid of panic attacks forever.
Perhaps you feel stuck. You may find that you do things in a certain way so that you can feel prepared for a quick escape. For example, you might sit at the end of the aisle in a theater because you know that you can get out quickly if you need to. Or, you may use certain roads because these are your “safe” routes. When what you really desire is to be able to enjoy life and stop basing your decisions on fear and worry about having a panic attack and do things because you want to do them.
Panic Attacks Are Common
You may be suffering quietly, thinking that no one else has such fearful thoughts and scary bodily symptoms. You are not alone. In fact, according to the National Institute for Mental Health, panic disorder affects about six million people a year and is more common in women than men. But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with it.
The body’s response, with all of these bodily sensations, goes back to the days of the cave man. If the caveman found himself facing danger, the fight or flight response was automatically triggered in his body. His adrenaline began to pump, his sense of sight and smell became much more acute and his body began to perspire to cool him down. This along with other physiological changes prepared him to either fight for his life or flee.
Because it is linked to these old survival behaviors, panic can actually be a good response. If you walk into the street and there is a car speeding toward you, you want this alarm system to kick into action to get you out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, this response can kick in when there is no real danger. It seems to come out of the blue.
Panic disorder can develop when you begin to fear having more panic attacks. You may constantly feel a sense of dread and find that you avoid places where you had a panic attack. This can really negatively affect your quality of life. Thankfully, with the help of an experienced therapist, you can find peace and ease in your body and your mind.
Therapy for Panic Attacks Can Help You Find Lasting Relief
You don’t have to suffer anymore. One of the most common things that I hear from my clients is that they just want to get back to their old self. They want to do and be what they were before the panic took ahold of them and destroyed their lives. You don’t have to live a life in fear that you will never know when your next attack is coming.
With research based, effective therapy for panic attacks, the counselors at lighthouse have literally helped thousands of people over the last 17 years. We have a combined 64 years of experience helping people get back to enjoying life again.
In some instances, using Eriksonian Hypnosis and light hypnotic trance states can help certain people accelerate their progress. Please call and talk with us about available treatments. Let us restructure your brain’s electrical and chemical response in situations that trigger panic. Become unafraid of what many people view as deadly.
Panic attacks are a signal from the conscious and subconscious mind that something is a threat and needs to change. It is a big, scary red stop sign. But it is possible that the things that we should be afraid of Generalize to situations that we need not be afraid.
So while panic attacks seem to come out of the nowhere, they are often connected to things that happened early in life that have not yet been resolved
You, too, can get relief from panic attacks. Imagine what your life will be like when you are engaged in doing just what you want....Just the things that make you feel happy again!
No fear at having fun or gong out engaging in social settings without the fear of having a full blown panic attack. This relief is possible for you!
You may believe that therapy for panic attacks can help you feel better and function with greater ease, but still have questions or concerns…
How do I know if therapy for panic attacks will help me?
Give us 45 minutes. One single consultation and if you do not feel some sense of improvement, we can refer to you another mode or person for treatment. However in seventeen years of practice, we have never met anyone whom was not helped by our services.
Isn’t therapy expensive and time-consuming?
Many times when people think of therapy, they think it will drag on for years. We use a time conscious approach to therapy. We want to help you get well fast!
Many people feel they are able to step down to less frequent sessions after only a handful. Some feel they are making such great gains, that they want to work on other topcs or issues as well. However Therapy is neither expensive or time consuming.
We are in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois PPO insurance which is the largest insurer in Illinois. In most situations, therapy is covered with a low $15 - $20 Copay.
Stop and think for a moment how panic attacks have impacted you? Do they stop you from enjoying your life? Do they limit you? Therapy for relief from panic attacks is an investment in your long-term well-being. How much is that worth to you? Invest in yourself. Do something good for you and take your life and your performance to the next level.
There is a saying that we only go through life once. How do you want to go through your life?
Change is possible!
The Time is Now to Stop Letting Panic Attacks Control Your Life!
Get lasting relief from panic attacks and help you re-claim your life.
See the counselors at Lighthouse at: (708) 275-0934.
Start feeling better and living your life.