Panic Disorder is the technical name for panic attacks, which often begin in early adulthood. One of the characteristics of Panic Disorder is that it usually comes without warning and without any apparent cause. After a period of having attacks, the sufferer so dreads a repeat of this very unpleasant experience, that they often develop a fear of having another attack in addition to the initial disorder. If symptoms continue, it can become so distressful to the person that he or she may not want to leave their house. This may lead to Agoraphobia, the extreme fear of going outside of one's "safety zone", often their home. For reasons not yet known, women are twice as likely as men to suffer from panic attacks.
Panic attacks are associated with physical symptoms that may include the following...
Although someone having a panic attack may think they are having a heart attack, there is usually no apparent reason for the physical symptoms. There is a mental or psychological aspect of panic attack which sufferers describe as a "sense of unreality," of feeling completely out of control or as though they are "going to die" or will "go insane."
Human beings have a built-in "fight or flight" response to a fearful situation. When perceived danger occurs, fear triggers a physical response where the pituitary glad excretes adrenaline into the bloodstream. The adrenaline enhances our ability to "fight" in our defence, or run ("flight") to save our lives. But when fear is triggered internally instead of by some actual physical danger, our bodies still experience the symptoms created by the adrenaline.
We do not know exactly why the body's natural "warning system" gets triggered when there is no actual danger. Physical illness or major stress, such as relationship problems can trigger first attacks, as can work issues, legal problems or being a victim of crime or a road traffic accident. The causes may involve an interaction of mental, or psychological and physical events. When stress is severe, as with the loss of one's job or a death in the family, it may stimulate the part of the brain that controls fear response. Several very stressful events happening within a short period of time can also set off panic attacks. In addition, panic attacks can accompany other types of anxiety disorders.
Anyone suffering a suspected panic attack should always seek medical advice, as a number of medical problems may mimic a panic attack. Once panic disorder has been diagnosed, medication may be prescribed. This is often an antidepressant or beta-blocker. However, learning coping mechanisms is the most important step in conquering this illness.
LifeSolutions offers a multi-faceted treatment plan that will help you become free from panic. We offer Cognitive Therapy, Hypnotherapy, NLP, and Meridian Therapies, as well as being qualified Stress Managers and EMDR therapists.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is thought to be one of the most effective forms of treatment for panic disorder. We may talk to you about the way you react when you have a panic attack, and what you think about when you are experiencing an attack. Once these negative thoughts and underlying beliefs have been identified, you can start to change them into more realistic ones. You will also be taught BREATHING TECHNIQUES, sometimes using HYPNOSIS, in order to help you stay calm and in control during a panic attack. Once you know you can cope with a panic attack, you are starting to conquer them.
Hypnotherapy is also helpful in treating sufferers of panic disorder. Sometimes, hypnotic regression may be used. Whilst in trance, the subconscious mind is accessed and the original cause for the disorder can be disclosed. Most clients, however, find that the relaxation techniques taught during their visit, combined with a cognitive approach, are an effective way of overcoming panic attacks for good. A particularly useful technique for controlling panic is anchoring, an NLP technique with it's roots in hypnotherapy. This technique can be taught both in and out of trance and has proved to be a particularly effective treatment for panic disorder and panic attacks.
Another treatment you may have encountered is EFT. EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, can easily be taught to clients and seems to be particularly valuable when treating the symptoms of panic. We have often used this technique whilst a client is actually experiencing a panic attack, and found that those unpleasant symptoms can be reduced almost immediately.
EMDR may also be employed in your treatment programme. As EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing) is particularly successful in the treatment of distressing memories, panic attacks with a known cause may respond especially well to this treatment.
Our popular masterclass in anxiety, panic & phobias next takes place on Saturday, Sunday & Monday, 4th - 6th April 2009. Learn how to offer safe, effective and rapid treatment using both hypnotherapy & CBT. An extremely comprehensive course. Which covers emetophobia, avoidant paruresis, adjustment disorder, dental phobia and childhood anxiety. Includes some innovative and effective techniques for panic attacks.