Panic attacks affect people differently. While some may be able to overcome an attack in public without others noticing, others may call upon professional medical help. First time sufferers sometimes believe they are experiencing a heart attack or a nervous breakdown because of the symptoms and their severity.
With Priory, panic attacks help is just around the corner. Enquire online for more information.
What is a panic attack?
Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense anxiety which appear to have no obvious triggers or reasoning. They can happen when a person least expects it and can be very distressing and frightening for the sufferer. However, treatment for panic attacks are available and over the course of time and therapy, the sufferer can improve their condition. To cure panic attacks Priory Clinics have devised recovery programmes that help victims deal and face these attacks.
What are the symptoms of panic attack disorders?
Many sufferers report feelings of being out of control, unable to free themselves or feeling trapped. They also produce physical symptoms such as:
- Feeling faint, dizzy or light headed
- Feeling nauseous
- Abdominal discomfort
- Chest pains and shortness of breath
- Fluctuating body temperature
- Hyperventilating in some instances
Panic attacks are distinguishable from other kinds of anxiety by their intensity and immediate nature of their occurrence. Take a look at our symptoms of panic attacks page for more information.
What causes panic attacks?
The causes of panic are many and can include:
- Hereditary causes
- Biological causes
- Short-term emotional triggers
- Maintaining causes (situation avoidance, mistaken beliefs)
- Lack of assertiveness
- Substance withdrawal
- Hyperventilation syndrome
- Situationally bound panic attacks
- Pharmacological triggers
- Chronic and/or serious illness
Read more about panic attack causes.
How to deal with panic attacks
Whilst they can be overwhelming and debilitating, there are a number of ways of dealing with panic attacks. These include controlling your breathing, shifting your focus and challenging unhelpful thoughts.
Read our 5 top tips for coping with panic attacks blog to find out more.
Panic attack help & treatment at Priory
The type and length of panic attacks treatment is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity and complexity of the condition. Some patients are treated as outpatients, which means they come to the Priory for hourly sessions with their consultant, psychologist or therapist. Others require a more structured treatment approach which can include staying at one of the Priory hospitals for the duration of their panic attacks treatment. Here, they take part in the psychological group programme as well as regular sessions with their consultant.
Due to the nature in which these attacks occur, without warning or logical reasoning, it is not possible to produce a specific panic attack recovery programme that suits the needs of everyone. Treatment options include self-help, one-to-one counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment for panic attacks. It works by focusing on the behaviours and thinking patterns that are contributing to them, allowing you to look at your triggers and fears more realistically.
Panic attacks can be tackled effectively by a combination of therapy and medication. Your Priory consultant can discuss these options with you at an arranged appointment.
Whilst professional treatment can make the biggest difference, there are several things you can do to help deal with panic attacks in between therapy sessions. These include:
- Avoiding smoking, alcohol and caffeine
- Learning how to control your breathing
- Practising relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation etc.
- Spending more time with family and friends
- Exercising regularly – for at least 30 minutes several times a week
- Getting enough good quality sleep