Are you experiencing the terror of panic attacks?

Panic is an episode of a paralyzing sense of intense terror that strikes without warning. It is an anxiety disorder, often accompanied by varying symptoms such as, dizziness, racing heart, hyperventilation, trembling, shaking, nausea, numbness and chest pain. Panic attacks can be set off by a hyper-sensitive “suffocation alarm” in the body. Panic disorder is typically debilitating as it produces intense feelings of dread and feelings of fear of losing control or dying. A key symptom of panic disorder is the persistent fear of future panic attacks. Panic disorder is one of the most treatable of all the anxiety disorders.

Most anxiety disorders including panic disorder can be treated with a combination of psychotherapy, primarily, cognitive and behavioral therapy and medication including antianxiety agents and/or anti-depressants. Some anxiety disorders including panic disorder respond successfully to psychotherapy alone which teaches people different ways of thinking, behaving and reacting. The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to help a patient reorganize thinking processes and anxious thoughts regarding an experience that provokes panic. Combined with the utilization of psychological self-care methods which lower the arousal of the mind and relaxation practices which lower the arousal in the body, these methods can be powerful antidotes to panic and anxiety. Relaxation techniques including breathing retraining can help individuals move through and prevent future panic attacks.