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Can My Chronic Panic Attacks Be Diagnosed As A Panic Disorder?

Almost all of us know what it’s like to experience fear and anxiety. These are usually about known quantities such as a job interview, a first date, or an exam. At other times they might be about more existential issues such as transitioning from middle to old age or when experiencing a serious illness. However, someone who suffers from a panic disorder can feel anxiety, fear and panic intensely on a day-to-day basis. This often starts from experiencing a negative experience. They may, for example, get anxious in a crowded tube after having had a difficult experience. The panic then becomes generalised as it occurs every time they approach a tube train, regardless of whether it is crowded or not. It becomes debilitating as the individual starts to avoid public transport altogether. Other types of stimuli for panic can be relationships, professional environments, clinical settings or insects, animals or fear of illnesses and germs, amongst many others.

Statistics show that up to 1/3 of those suffering with a panic disorder become house bound. The individual who suffers with a panic disorder can end up feeling very lonely and misunderstood. They may experience disbelief, frustration, sadness and despair. They may also experience a lack of understanding from others who tell them to pull themselves together and get on with things. They may have difficulty conveying to others the intensity of the panic and anxiety and the accompanying physical feelings of breathlessness, shallow breathing, perspiring and blacking out which can occur.

However, be rest assured that help is at hand because panic disorders actually respond very well to treatment.

 

Severe Panic Attack Symptoms – Signs Of A Panic Disorder

Emotional

  • Frequent and acute feelings of fear
  • A sense of being out of control whilst experiencing the panic attack
  • Feeling incredibly anxious in anticipating a panic attack
  • Feeling scared of and avoiding places and people where a panic attack has previously occurred

 

Physical

  • Heart beating faster and more loudly than normal
  • Cold or hot sweats
  • Breathing fast and shallowly
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Tingling sensation in the hands
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Tingly or numb hands
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain

Panic attacks are more common among women than men. Then tend to start in late adolescence or early adulthood. Some people have just one incident of a panic disorder and never have another one. There is evidence to suggest that panic disorders may be inherited. Panic disorder can go untreated for many years. Often individuals will experience not being taken seriously

Panic Disorder Treatments

There are two main forms of treatment for a panic disorder: therapy and/or medication. These typically include:

  • Psychiatric assessment and medication. This may include antidepressant medication which has been shown to be successful in over half of panic disorder cases.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Psychotherapy

Depending on the severity of your symptoms we would suggest an initial psychiatric assessment. This entails a thorough and in-depth investigation into the cause and symptoms of your panic disorder and ensures the heart of the issue is tackled. Following on from this our Consultant Psychiatrist might prescribe a course of medication to reduce the symptoms.

CBT or psychotherapy are recommended alongside psychiatric treatment or as a stand alone treatment if your panic symptoms are less acute. CBT is an evidence based therapy that is very effective in helping people overcome panic disorder. It does this by helping you to replace unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts with more helpful ones regarding the triggers for your panic symptoms. By developing a different perspective and practicing various coping strategies you start to feel liberated and more in control of your reactions.

Talking therapies are also an effective way to deal with panic symptoms, especially if they are deep-rooted and linked to earlier or old trauma.

At Psymplicity Healthcare our leading practitioners have been especially selected because they know exactly what they are doing with regarding to panic disorder. Calling us on 02027 118 0407 means you can breathe a sigh of relief,  knowing that you are on the way to feeling more in control of your life.

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