Does this ever happen to you? Out of nowhere, you experience a number of troubling physical symptoms. You heart begins to pound or you have difficulty breathing. You might experience chest pains or stomach upset. Perhaps you fear that you are dying or about to go crazy. Symptoms like these are often indications of a panic attack. Millions suffer from panic attacks and do even realize what is happening to them.
The good news is that we know a lot more about the physical and psychological mechanisms that cause panic attacks, and we now have very effective treatments. According to research, cognitive-behavioral therapy is now the most effective psychological treatment for panic. This is a very practical, short-term therapy that often leads to a complete elimination of panic symptoms. It can be used in conjunction with appropriate medication.
I recently saw a woman who was so completely paralyzed by fear that she rarely left her home. She would not walk up her stairs for fear that the “strain” would cause a heart attack. This was a very competent and successful woman who just happened to suffer from panic attacks. Using the skills we taught her, she was able to regain normal functioning.
There is no need to suffer from panic attacks any longer. If you have them, I urge you to consult with a mental health specialist who uses the cognitive-behavioral approach.
E Hibbs, Ph.D.