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 is 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.
Getting lives back on track-
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.
What are the symptoms and causes of panic attacks?-
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.
The causes of Panic are many and can include:
- Long-term, predisposing causes – hereditary
- Biological causes – obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder for example
- Phobias – people will often experience attacks as a direct result of exposure to a phobic object or situation
- Short-term triggering causes – significant personal loss, including an emotional attachment to a romantic partner
- Maintaining causes – avoidance of panic provoking situations or environments, anxious/negative self-talk ('what-if' thinking), mistaken beliefs ('these symptoms are harmful and/or dangerous'), withheld feelings
- Lack of assertiveness – a growing body of evidence supports the idea that those who suffer from panic attacks engage in a passive style of communication or interactions with others
- Medications – attacks may sometimes be a listed side effect of medications
- Withdrawal – from alcohol, medication or drugs
- Hyperventilation syndrome – breathing from the chest may cause over breathing, exhaling excessive carbon dioxide in relation to the amount of oxygen in one's bloodstream. Hyperventilation syndrome can cause respiratory alkalosis and hypocapnia
- Situationally bound panic attacks – associating certain situations with panic attacks
- Pharmacological triggers – certain chemical substances
- Chronic and/or serious illness
Care and management-
Due to the nature in which these attacks occur, without warning or logical reasoning, it is not possible to produce a specific recovery programme that suits the needs of everyone. However, the risk of panic can be reduced or even prevented by using techniques such as muscle relaxation exercises, coping mechanism strategies and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
How the Priory can help to support you-
For over 25 years, the Priory has been helping to treat anxiety disorders and people who experience attacks. We realise that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.
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.