What is panic disorder?
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterised by recurring panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of fear and anxiety that typically last for several minutes and can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath. Individuals experiencing panic disorder often experience a sense of impending doom or a fear of losing control during panic attacks.
What are the symptoms of panic attack?
- feeling disorientated.
- rapid, irregular heartbeats.
- dry mouth.
An individual does not need to experience all of these to be having a panic attack. Typically, an individual will experience at least three of these symptoms. These physical symptoms are also experienced with a surge of anxious thoughts related to losing control or going ‘crazy.’
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What causes panic disorder?
The exact causes of panic disorder are not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Panic disorder may be triggered by stress, trauma, or major life changes, and may also be associated with certain medical conditions or substance use. Aging can also cause an imbalance in hormones; peri menopausal and menopausal women may experience heightened anxiety in this transitional period.
How to treat panic disorder?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for panic disorder. CBT aims to help individuals identify and challenge their negative thoughts and beliefs about panic attacks, develop coping strategies for managing anxiety, and gradually confront their fears through exposure response prevention (ERP). Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing individuals to the situations or stimuli that trigger panic attacks, in a safe and controlled environment, until the individual can tolerate these without experiencing panic symptoms.
During CBT, individuals also learn relaxation techniques, attention training skills and stress management skills, alongside problem-solving strategies to help individuals manage anxiety and prevent panic attacks. CBT can also help individuals develop a greater understanding of the underlying causes of why they are experiencing panic disorder, and to develop a more balanced and constructive outlook on their ability to manage these symptoms. Overall, CBT has been found to be highly effective in reducing panic symptoms and improving quality of life for people with panic disorder.
If you feel that you, a friend or relative would like help to break free from panic disorder, then please get in touch with me, a panic disorder Psychotherapist via email: email@example.com
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