If you are unexpectedly experiencing feelings of intense anxiety, fear, and even terror that cause physical reactions, you might be suffering from panic attacks. Although this is a relatively common health issue, if it occurs multiple times it might indicate a panic disorder and can lead to significant emotional impairment. However, panic disorder therapy has proven to be quite successful.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6 million American adults have been diagnosed with panic disorder. Panic attacks, in themselves, usually consist of physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations or heart pounding, dizziness, etc., but there are also significant psychological symptoms such as derealization, fear of losing control, “going mad” or even fear of dying.
Panic disorder develops when, together with repeated panic attacks, one or both of the following symptoms take place:
- Anticipatory anxiety – you’re not relaxed in between attacks, but feel tense and anxious and keep worrying about future attacks
- Phobic avoidance – you start avoiding certain situations, interactions or practices for fear of causing another attack
Consequently, if left unchecked, panic disorder can:
- strain one’s personal relationships
- hinder everyday life and generally pleasurable activities
- degrade emotional health and stability
- cause significant withdrawal from others and society at large
But you don’t have to live with anxiety and fear. Treatment can help, and for many people, panic attack counseling and panic disorder therapy is a good place to start. A qualified counselor/therapist in our Bristol office can guide you through different types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy (confronting with one’s fears), along with helping you truly understand your condition, control your anxiety levels and stop worrisome thoughts.
If you or someone you know suffers from panic attacks or panic disorder, give our Bristol office a call and we’ll provide you with relevant information and direction, or schedule a session and start you on your way towards getting better.