Panic disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks that can last as little as a few minutes in duration or as long as an hour if there is no intervention. Attacks can be brought on by specific situations or can appear to have come from nowhere. Over time, they can occur more often, disrupting your daily life.
Symptoms & signs of panic disorder
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Numb or tingling hands and feet
- Upset stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Trembling or shaking
- Fear and worrying about when the panic attack will appear
- Avoiding all places where panic attacks have previously occurred
- Excessive worry about your physical health (for example, concern about having a heart attack or suffocating)
When is it time to get help?
Panic attacks can be terrifying, especially because they can mimic health emergencies such as a heart attack. They are often unpredictable, which leaves you on high alert in many situations that are actually safe. Anxiety that leads to panic disorder can be very debilitating. The fear of having a panic attack can quickly reduce the number of places you go and experiences that you have, making your world smaller and smaller. If you find that leaving your home is getting more and more difficult, or you are avoiding everyday activities, or your daily tasks and relationships are suffering, it is time to seek help.
Panic disorder treatment methods
There are several effective treatment methods for dealing with panic disorder. Your therapist will discuss with you the best options for your individual circumstance. Some treatment methods that are typically successful in treating panic disorder and anxiety include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach that works to help the brain process information, memories, sounds, and feelings in a way that makes them be seen in a new and less distressing way.
- Mindfulness therapy is an approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves, others, and the world. The ability to be in the moment, to acknowledge and regulate your emotions helps you to break free from negative thought patterns.
- Behavioural therapy tends to view human beings and behaviour with the assumption that humans are a product of their sociocultural conditioning and environment, looking at the current problems and the factors influencing them and emphasizes behaviour changes more than the underlying unconscious processes.
- Hypnosis and hypnotherapy can allow clients to travel deeper into the unconscious or subconscious to look at and work with issues and ideas perhaps inaccessible otherwise. It’s like guided daydreaming: a form of relaxed concentration.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
We have therapists who specialize in anxiety and panic disorder and they can help you to alleviate the symptoms caused by this disorder. You do not have to live with the limiting effects of anxiety – we can help. Working together with your therapist, you will understand what is causing you anxiety and panic and discover ways of dealing with and reducing symptoms through a proven treatment method that works for you.