Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder

If you are suffering from panic disorder, you would experience frequent unexpected panic attacks and fear about when the next attack will occur. As such, you actively avoid places, events, or behaviours you believe are triggers to your panic attacks. The constant fear and avoidance leads to a distressed and dysfunctional lifestyle that may also impact your relationships with others. 

 

Biological explanation of a Panic attack:

  • Activation of the sympathetic nervous system, “fight or flight” mode 
  • An adaptive reaction for survival 
  • You feel a sudden surge of intense fear or discomfort that comes quickly and peaks within minutes
  • This occurs when you perceive a threat to situations such as conducting a presentation, walking on the streets at night. 

 

Physiological response to a Panic attack

  • Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering or choking
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Feelings of being out of control

 

Treatments for Panic Disorder

    Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” helps you learn how your emotions affect your behaviours. A therapist listens and talks to you about your thoughts and feelings and suggests ways to understand and manage them and your anxiety disorder.

     

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

      Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you to explore different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful objects and situations. CBT can be done individually or with a group of others facing similar difficulties. You are likely to be assigned things to try out on your own, to battle your fears and avoidance tendencies. 

     

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

      ACT fosters an open, non-judgmental attitude toward the feelings and sensations that arise in the body in the present moment, recognizing them for what they are. The fundamental ideas in ACT for anxiety and panic involve the concept of psychological flexibility to teach anxiety acceptance, differentiating the self from anxiety and panic sensations, and responding in the individual's chosen directions. 

     

    Medications

      Medications could also be prescribed to manage the panic disorder to provide you relief from symptoms. 

 

Find out more about Panic Disorder here: 

Check out these 3 steps to calm yourself during a panic attack:

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