Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks

A panic attack is an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes. This intense episode of fear is often accompanied by physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, a feeling of impending doom or loss of control, hot or cold flashes, chest pain, or feelings of being detached from oneself. These symptoms can be so severe that individuals often feel they are having a heart attack or other life-threatening condition.

Panic attacks can occur unexpectedly or be triggered by specific situations, and while they can happen to anyone, they are commonly associated with Panic Disorder, a type of anxiety disorder. People suffering from Panic Disorder live in fear of having another attack and may avoid places or situations they associate with previous attacks.

The cause of panic attacks is not completely understood but is likely a combination of genetic factors, major stress or changes in life circumstances, certain temperaments, and potentially changes in the way the brain functions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often the first line of treatment for panic attacks and Panic Disorder. This type of therapy helps individuals understand their panic attacks and teaches them skills to manage or lessen the symptoms. Medication may also be used as part of a treatment plan.

It's important to remember that while panic attacks can be incredibly frightening, they are not physically dangerous. With proper treatment, individuals can manage their symptoms and reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.

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If you are considering psychotherapy but do not know where to start, a free initial consultation is the perfect first step. It will allow you to explore your options, ask questions, and feel more confident about taking the first step towards your well-being.

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