What are panic attacks?
A panic attack is a sudden, overwhelming onset of anxiety, usually accompanied by very distressing physical symptoms. Symptoms of panic attacks include breathlessness, choking sensations and chest pains. Although a panic attack can't harm you, the symptoms are harrowing, and sufferers often fear they are dying when they experience them. Attacks can last from a few minutes to, in extreme cases, an hour. They may happen once a month or several times a week.
No one knows why people get panic attacks. However, it's more likely you will suffer them following a traumatic experience such as a bereavement, bankruptcy or a break-up. Other people experience them during big life changes such as getting married, emigrating, or having a baby. In many cases, these attacks pass. If you are having repeated attacks, or have had more than four panic attacks and are afraid of having another, we'd recommend seeking help straight away.
Panic attacks are very distressing. Fortunately, they're treatable, and treatment is especially effective if they are tackled early on. If you're suffering from panic attacks, please contact us. We can talk through your symptoms and get you the right help.
How do I know if I'm having a panic attack?
Below are the most common symptoms of a panic attack. Some, or all, may be present during an attack.
- fearing you're dying or losing your mind
- dizziness, nausea
- what feels like an irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- a tingling sensation in your finger
- a sensation of breathlessness, fearing you are choking
- hot and cold flushes
- feeling as if you're observing events rather than experiencing them
We recommend treatment if you're:
- living in fear of 'the next panic attack'
- having attacks repeatedly
- avoiding events and social interactions
How do we treat panic attacks?
Panic attacks don't always have an obvious cause, and this can be very frightening if you are experiencing them. At Face to Face Therapia we believe that panic attacks are a reflection of suppressed thoughts, wishes and emotions. A panic attack is those thoughts and feelings surfacing in a very distressing and uncontrolled way.
One to one therapy is one of the most effective ways of treating panic attacks. Together with your psychotherapist, the aim is to uncover the reasons for your symptoms, and safely work through them. Once this has taken place, most clients find their symptoms disappear completely. Panic attacks can be linked to traumatic events we've experienced, either recently or in the past. EMDR is a gentle trauma treatment that can also help alleviate, and often eradicate, panic attacks.
For more information, or to book an appointment with us, please get in touch.