For most of us, trusting our bodies isn’t something we think about. We don’t worry about being overwhelmed with feelings of dying during our lunch break. The possibility of our body experiencing sudden shortness of breath, a racing heart, chest pain, and dizziness doesn’t haunt us.
But for over 2 million Americans, that’s not a luxury they have. Panic attacks are terrifying, debilitating experiences that can wreak havoc on a person’s wellbeing and day-to-day life. Panic disorder therapists at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY understand this frightening experience and are here to help you regain control and trust of your mind and body.
What Is a Panic Attack?
Panic attacks are a hallmark of panic disorder, a type of anxiety disorder, although they can be found in many other conditions. People struggling from social anxiety, eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, and depression can all experience panic attacks. What makes panic disorder unique, however, is the frequency and unpredictability of a panic attack.
Someone with a phobia of dogs may get a panic attack when they see a dog. Panic attacks have no warning. If you or a loved one has had a panic attack, know that the psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, social workers, and licensed counselors at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY are here to support you.
What Are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack?
Panic attack symptoms are different for each person. However, some common symptoms include the following:
- A general sense of dread or impending doom
- Numbness in hands or feet
- Racing heart
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of “going mad”
- Thinking you are dying
- Racing thoughts
These are just some symptoms of a panic attack. Individual differences occur. For example, some people may think they’re having a heart attack and rush themselves to the emergency room. No matter what the specific experience, panic attacks are terrifying and painful. But they aren’t inherently dangerous. You aren’t at risk of dying from them. We recognize how that can be hard to understand when you are in the middle of an attack. Part of the treatment plan for panic disorder is learning more about panic attacks and how to best manage them on an individual level. The fully licensed mental health providers at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY are ready to help you through that learning process.
Panic disorder has some additional unique symptoms. The big two are:
- Experiencing at least 4 panic attacks in a one-month period
- The attack produces additional distress and worry about the possibility of having another attack. This may result in changed behavior.
Although this is the criteria for panic disorder, anyone is free to come in for therapy at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY. Our counselors are happy to work with you no matter the official diagnosis.
What Does Therapy for Panic Attacks Look Like?
Education is a large part of panic disorder therapy. Panic attacks get much of their power from being misunderstood. You don’t have control over when a panic attack occurs, but there are methods to recognize an oncoming panic attack and make it more bearable or even shorter. Some things you might learn in anxiety therapy:
- What your unique “tells” are of an oncoming panic attack (sweaty, racing heart, sense of dread, etc.)
- Relaxation training. Recurrent panic attacks can create a lot of stress in day-to-day life, which increases the likelihood of an attack. Learning how to relax when stressed is a crucial first step.
- Cognitive restructuring. Learn how to catch negative, destructive thinking before it spirals.
- Mindfulness. This is especially important during an attack. It teaches us that the negative emotions are not part of us, and they will pass. It can shorten the length and intensity of attacks.
- Coping strategies. Panic attacks leave people feeling drained, both emotionally and physically. It’s vital to take care of yourself during the aftermath of an attack. We can figure out the best coping strategies to do that.
The anxiety and panic disorder therapists at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY can also help identify your triggers and possibly use exposure therapy to diminish your responses to certain stimuli.
Get Evidence-Based Panic Disorder Counseling at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY
Panic attacks don’t have to rule your life. The counselors at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY understand your pain and are here to help you cope with and manage it. You can get matched to a panic disorder counselor today and meet with them online or in-person as early as tomorrow. Most Thriveworks clients can have a session within 24-48 hours after their initial booking. Thriveworks members can also reach out to their provider by phone or email between full sessions. And Thriveworks providers accept most major forms of health insurance coverage.
Call today to get affordable, expert, and compassionate care from a therapist at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY. We look forward to hearing from you.