Sufferers often describe panic attacks as sudden and persistent episodes of intense suffocation which will usually last a few minutes that can seem like hours. Your heart races wildly and you experience a pervasive sensation of unabated fear. You may also feel a complete loss of control and waves of heat radiating throughout your body.
Perhaps you have recognized the symptoms, researched the literature, and even acquired medication, but the results were not what you expected or hoped for. Perhaps you have even come to accept panic attacks as a part of your life and do not believe they can be treated.
Don’t give up! Did you know that panic attacks can be eliminated a maximum of 10 meetings? Find out how!
A panic attack is a sudden episode of fear or intense discomfort which may have a range of duration from mere moments to 5, 20, or even 30 minutes. These episodes may be unexpected and brutal. Approximately 7% to 28% of people experience occasional panic attacks, usually occurring during periods of high anxiety. Attacks may come in waves; the first attack is usually perceived to be the most intense. Sometimes, victims will seek refuge in a familiar environment. If this response persists over time it can even develop into agoraphobia.
Panic attacks are accompanied by at least 4 of the 13 cognitive or somatic symptoms listed below:
- Tremor or trepidation;
- Shortness of breath or feeling of strangulation;
- Choking feeling;
- Chest pain or discomfort;
- Nausea or abdominal discomfort;
- Chills or hurt flushes;
- Derealization or depersonalization;
- Fear of losing control;
- Urgently needing to urinate or defecate
There are two types of panic attacks which are characterized by the circumstances in which they are triggered:
- Unexpected: attacks occur without apparent reason and without prior warning
- Situational: attacks only occur in specific situations or circumstances
Symptoms will vary from person to person. Therefore, therapists must use individualized treatment methods and counseling techniques to respond to a person’s particular symptoms.