Treating Panic Attacks

If you suffer from panic attacks learning some different methods of treating panic attacks can make you more confident and improve your life. A panic attack is defined as a sudden feeling of overpowering anxiety and fear. When suffering from a panic attack you may notice that your heart begins to pound, you may start sweating, breathing may become difficult and you may feel dizzy and nauseous. Those that suffer extreme panic attacks sometimes feel as if they are about to die or that they have lost control of their mental abilities. If allowed to continue, panic attacks can cause panic disorder and many physical ailments. Possibly the worst outcome of not treating panic attacks is that you could lose your self-confidence and retreat from society and activities that you enjoy.

The Signs of a Panic attack

How do you know if you are having a panic attack? We touched on several symptoms above; let us take a more in-depth look into the symptoms of panic attacks. Panic attacks usually hit while you are away from home or in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation. You could experience the following symptoms:

Shortness of breath, sweating, heart pounding, nausea, chest pains, feeling faint, trembling, tingling, feeling like you are choking, hot or cold flashes, feeling as if you are detached from your surroundings, and the fear of dying. These are the most common signs that you are having a panic attack.

What Causes Panic Attacks

What causes a panic attack will vary from one person to the next. Each individual will have different triggers. With this being said, there are some common denominators among those that suffer panic attacks. There seems to be a hereditary connection, if your parents suffered panic attacks you are more likely to suffer them also. Many people that suffer panic attacks claim that their attacks started after a major event in their life. Graduating college, getting a first job, getting married, getting divorced, the birth of a child, and the death of a loved one all seem to be common happenings that mark the beginning of someone suffering panic attacks. There are also several medical problems that seem to play a part in whether you will suffer panic attacks. Minor heart ailments, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, the use of stimulants, or withdrawal from drugs or alcohol can all cause someone to suffer panic attacks.

Options for Treating Panic Attacks

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been successfully used to treat panic attacks. Most physicians view this as the most effective treatment for this condition. This type of therapy focuses on the thought patterns and behaviors that trigger and sustain panic attacks. The therapy will help you see the fears that cause your panic attacks in a realistic light. An example of how the therapy works would be for your therapist to ask you to describe your worst case scenario if you were to have a panic attack while driving. They would listen to your response and then walk you through a more realistic outcome for the situation. They would explain that although you may need to pull off the road, which would probably be the worst outcome. They will continue these types of exercises until you come to the realization that nothing terrible will happen thus making your thoughts of the situation less traumatic.

Another type of therapy that is used for treating panic attacks is called exposure therapy. Your therapist will expose you to the physical sensations of a panic attack in a controlled environment. They will then teach you better ways of coping with the feelings caused by the panic attack. This therapy not only lessens the probability of panic attacks, it teaches you how to recover from a panic attack sooner. When you become proficient at this technique you will be able to recover from a panic attack without those around you realizing anything is wrong.

Along with therapy sessions there are also medications that can be prescribed as a treatment for panic attacks. The problem with medications is that they do not treat the problem; they just control the symptoms of panic attacks. Therapy is the only cure for panic attacks. While you are first learning how to deal with your panic attacks you may be prescribed antidepressants, or benzodiazepines to help control the severity of your panic attacks.

Other Methods of controlling the Severity of Panic Attacks

Learn more about panic attacks, knowledge is power, the more you know about your condition the easier it will be to control your attacks. Avoid smoking and caffeine as both of these things can increase the likelihood of a panic attack. Learn how to control your breathing, deep breathing can stop a panic attack sooner. Learn how to relax and practice relaxation techniques daily. Keeping yourself calm and stress free will go a long way to stopping panic attacks or shortening how long they last.

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