By Elaine Ryan
that you can start right away and help yourself recover from panic attacks
Effective Treatment needs to
- stop the symptoms you experience
- end the fear of having another
- help you to understand the root cause of your attacks
Treatment of symptoms
It is the rapid change in breathing that is responsible for most of the symptoms that you experience during a panic attack. Treatment, therefore, must address this.
Breathing changes due to a change in the autonomic nervous system – you are given a stress response in situations where it is not necessary.
You need to learn how to calm your nervous system and produce a relaxation response.
Following the program will help you replace the stress response (fight or flight) with a relaxation response. Being able to calm your nervous system means that your breathing is less likely to get out of control. It is your change in breathing that is responsible for most of the other symptoms that you experience during a panic attack.
Treatment of Fear
Even though a panic attack has finished, you probably live in fear of the next one. This is normal with Panic Attacks. In addition to calming your symptoms, you also need to work with your thought processes and be shown how to quiet your mind.
Working with thought processes is extremely important in the treatment of panic attacks as, what we think, feel and do, shapes our brain.
Quite often, people who are having regular panic attacks, avoid places that they believe may trigger an attack. You will be shown how to start introducing these avoided things back into your life. It is extremely important that you are taught how to reduce fear and avoidance in order to prevent panic attacks from turning into panic disorder and/or agoraphobia.
The program also has an “immediate help with panic attacks” section which helps to talk you through an attack as it is occurring, and provides exercises to distract your mind from what you are feeling in your body.
Understanding and treating the root cause of panic attacks
This involves a detailed understanding of what causes anxiety. What we do to ourselves that results in anxiety, how we habitually react to certain situations that we may not be aware of, as – what we think, feel and do, shapes our brain.
Working as a psychologist is my full time job, this is what I do everyday. Psychologists are expert in understanding human behavior, fears, thought processes and the impact these have on emotions. Why is this important? Because I understand what it is that you are thinking, feeling and doing that is resulting in panic attacks. More importantly, I understand how to show you, how to think, feel and do, in a different way, to shape your brain. Teaching you how to change an anxious brain into a calm one.
Living with panic attacks means feeling terror, that most people cannot imagine. You never feel okay. During an attack, every part of your body is doing something, making you feel things that were beyond your own imagination. It is practically impossible to explain to someone what life is like for you now, and have them really understand, and “get” what it feels like.
I fully understand what life is like for you. I understand that it might be difficult to read this page, that you might constantly Google your symptoms to check that you are okay. I understand what it feels like for your body to completely change in the blink of an eye. To constantly “check” to make sure that you are okay, that you are not dying, that your heart is still beating. I get, that you might check your pulse on your neck or your wrist, to check it is beating, and not feel reassured, as it is beating so fast you cannot count it. I understand what it feels like to be okay one minute, and feel like you are smothering the next, actually gasping for air. I get, that your breathing no longer feels right, that you are aware of it all the time.
The whole purpose of this website is to help people like you: to give you your life back
Fear of treatment?
Living with panic attacks can result in getting caught up in a life of fear; fear of what happens during an attack, fear of the next one, constantly researching your symptoms, looking for a cure. This endless cycle, can take over, and it can be extremely difficult to actually start to do the things you need to do, to finally get rid of panic. Even reading about what you need to do, can cause fear. It is not unusual, for someone to be prescribed medication, but not be able to take them, after researching side effects, and be terrified to take the pill. Or to try different things that you know will help, but it ends up making you feel worse, as you become more alert to what you are feeling in your body, and this creates even more fear. I understand all of this.
The fear comes from you not fully understanding what is happening. We cannot fix anything, unless we first understand what the problem is. Understanding, not only takes the fear away, it also allows you to fix the underlying problem – the root cause of your panic attacks.
It is important to start some form of treatment for panic attacks, before it develops into panic disorder or agoraphobia. Even if you have panic disorder with agoraphobia, start treatment, as your life does not have to be like this. There are things you can start to do right away to get your life back to normal.