Are Panic Attacks Taking Over Your Life?
- Have you found yourself suddenly overcome by fear, been short of breath and experienced physical symptoms like heart palpitations and sweating, and accompanying fearful thoughts?
- Have you gone to the hospital believing you were having a heart attack, only to have your doctor tell you your symptoms were caused by anxiety?
- Are you preoccupied by worry about having a panic attack, so much that you cannot enjoy life?
- Do you rearrange your life to avoid panic attack triggers?
- Do you desperately want to control your anxiety, but fear that your life will always be limited by your panic attacks?
Understanding Panic Attacks
What are anxiety attacks? In a panic attack, terror takes over your body and makes it feel like an unsafe place. Your throat tightens, you may feel like you are choking, and you may have chest pain. You feel like you’re losing control. Your heart rate speeds up, and your breathing gets shallow. You may be afraid that you are dying or having a heart attack. Maybe you’ve even gone to the emergency room out of fear that something physical is wrong, only to find that you are all right physically.
Although a panic attack lasts between 11 and 13 minutes, it can feel like a lifetime. Panic attacks are a normal bodily response that is happening in the wrong context. There are appropriate times to panic, and the body has a specific response to these stressful situations. However, with panic disorder, the alarm is going off at the wrong time.
This response is time-limited—a surge of adrenaline in the body. The adrenaline is reabsorbed in three to five minutes. When having a panic attack, it can be helpful to remember that you’ll feel better soon if you don’t fight it. However, the intensity and discomfort of a panic attack make it hard to keep this in mind in the moment. In therapy, you can learn to recognize and take charge of your panic attack symptoms.
Other Symptoms of Panic
In addition to the panic attacks themselves, you may experience a secondary level of pain—worrying about having another attack. If you are struggling with panic attacks, your life may revolve around avoidance. Perhaps you are doing everything you can to avoid having another panic attack. You may change your life to avoid panic attack triggers. Avoidance may work to prevent panic attacks, but it makes life smaller and smaller. Over time, this can lead to the development of panic disorder.
Although you may now feel hopeless, with effective treatment for panic your life can expand again. In therapy, you can learn to recognize the early physical signs and symptoms of a panic attack and build skills to calm down the symptoms, acknowledge and express feelings and fearful thoughts, and develop an increased understanding and reduced fear of panic. All of these things will work together to help you manage panic symptoms and regain control.
Through Panic Attack Treatment You Can Learn to Control Panic Attacks And Enjoy Life Again
The therapists at Eddins Counseling Group can help you better understand your anxiety attacks. In a safe and therapeutic environment, we will walk through what happens to you during a panic attack. What symptoms and physical sensations come first? What are the warning signs? Maybe it’s heart palpitations or shallow breathing. When you learn the signs, you begin to gain control over the panic attack and be prepared when attacks occur. In this process, we will examine the thoughts that arise after each physical symptom, and you can learn how to replace those thoughts with more healing thoughts. For example, if you feel your heart race and then think, “I’m having a heart attack,” you will likely become more anxious. However, if you think instead, “I’m safe and in charge. I can use my breathing to calm my body,” you are likely to feel calmer, which reduces panic symptoms.
Although panic attacks feel scary, they are not dangerous. You may feel like you’re dying, but you are not. You won’t stop breathing, faint or go crazy. You won’t have a heart attack. In therapy, you can learn strategies to help you remember that you are safe when you feel a panic attack coming on. We can teach you skills to calm your body and breath and counteract anxiety.
After we have gone over these strategies, you can practice using them in the safe environment of the therapy office. Practicing techniques before an attack comes on will help you to stay calm when you experience panic attack symptoms outside of the therapy session. These coping strategies can also help you stop panic attacks before they fully begin. And, throughout sessions, you may begin to realize that panic attacks are not the end of the world. You don’t need to spend your life in fear of panic attacks. You can do the things you have been avoiding, and live the life you want.
Through counseling, you will begin to understand how everything is connected. For many people, negative beliefs about themselves lead to depression and anxiety. We will look at patterns of negative thoughts and beliefs, and work to replace them with more beneficial, productive patterns of thinking. Instead of fearing your body, you can learn to have compassion for it. You can accept yourself physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Now is not forever—you can accept the moment as it is, and you can get through it.
With the help of an experienced therapist, effective strategies and a willingness to engage in the therapy process, you can experience relief. We can teach you how to face your physical symptoms and catastrophic thoughts, rather than avoid them. You may believe that you can’t handle a symptom or emotion, but you can. You can learn relaxation techniques that turn off the anxiety response, turning the temperature down on panic, and empowering you to move forward in your life.
You may feel as though panic disorder treatment can help you quiet your mind and find peace and confidence. But, you may still have questions or concerns…
What if talking about my panic attacks makes me feel more anxious?
Panic attacks are scary and uncomfortable, and you’ve probably been doing everything you can to avoid having them. It’s completely understandable to want to make sure that therapy won’t trigger a panic attack. But, therapy provides a safe place to learn how to control your panic attacks. Skills practiced in session such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation can stop symptoms of panic and anxiety from escalating. Practicing these skills ahead of time increases your ability to use them when fear overwhelms you. With panic attack help, you can move toward a life that isn’t controlled by the fear of panic attacks.
Do I really need help? Shouldn’t I be able to handle this on my own?
Some people with panic try to white-knuckle it, attempting to push through the fear and pain on their own. Often, this leads to suppressing painful emotions and causes trouble down the road. At best, it’s unnecessarily difficult. Why go it alone when you can benefit from the expertise of a qualified therapist? It may take time, but we will work through a concrete series of steps to get you feeling better. Entering treatment sets you on a path to recovery, using methods that have been shown to work reliably.
I’m worried about the cost of panic attack treatment
Panic attacks can significantly impact your life, leading to difficulties at work, at home, and with your overall well-being. These intangible costs associated with panic include your health, relationships and career. Treatment of panic is an investment in your future, and can resolve the troubles in your life that panic attacks have caused. If anxiety attacks are limiting your life, treatment can help you expand your boundaries and reach your potential. The benefits of panic disorder treatment can be transformative.
With panic attack treatment, you can develop the skills needed to take charge, feel empowered and change your life.
Learn skills to cope with panic attacks and panic disorder. Give us a call at 832-559-2622 to request an appointment or schedule an appointment online. You can also contact us to find out more about anxiety treatment in Houston.