Panic Attacks in Cedar Park, TX—Therapy and Counseling for a Panic Disorder
Leslie was reading before bed one night, relaxing after a long day when out of the blue, she felt like she could not breathe. She was sweating profusely and oh so hot. Leslie was doubled over with stomach pain when it occurred to her that she might die. She was scared and in pain when a few minutes after the symptoms came, they left. Even after the feelings were gone, Leslie was shaken—she had just had another panic attack, her third this month.
Panic attacks can surface for no obvious reasons and with no warnings. If they happen more than once, they may have grown into a panic disorder. At times, people respond to a panic attack by disrupting their daily life to avoid anything that may trigger the attack. However, they usually also disrupt opportunities for professional advancement and times with loved ones. Other look to alcohol or drugs to alleviate the difficult feelings, but these usually make the panic worse.
But help is available. Panic disorders are responsive to certain psychological interventions that may allow people to live free from panic attacks. Under the guidance of a skilled and caring therapist, many people can examine and resolve anything that may be causing the panic attacks.
Thriveworks Cedar Park treats panic disorders because we want to see our clients living their life without fear and without panic attacks. We offer holistic treatment that may combine cognitive behavior therapy, medication, and/or exposure therapy so that our clients have the best chance of overcoming a panic disorder.
Criteria for Diagnosing a Panic Disorder
Suffering from panic attacks is a serious mental health challenge. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) acknowledges the challenge when it gives the following criteria for panic disorders (DSM-5 300.01 [F41.0]):
- When people experience two or more panic attacks that involve an intense and growing anxiety, fear, and discomfort for a few minutes that then abates. To be labeled a panic attack, a minimum of four of the symptoms that follow must be present:
- Feeling suffocated or shortness of breath
- Fear of going crazy or losing control
- Hot flashes or chills
- Sweating excessively
- Nausea and/or abdominal pain
- Dizziness and/or faintness
- Fear of dying
- Pain and/or tightness in the chest
- Palpitations or escalated heart rate
- Shaking or convulsions
- Numbed or tingling sensations
- Detachment or depersonalization from oneself
- After the attack(s), developing one or both of the following behaviors for a minimum of one month:
- Acute worry that a panic attack and/or similar health problem will reoccur (e.g., a stroke).
- Changing one’s activities and daily habits in response to the panic attacks and in an attempt to decrease or avoid them.
People who suffer from a panic disorder usually have their first panic attack when they are young adults, in their 20s and 30s. Young children and older adults, however, have been diagnosed with panic disorder, although these cases are rare.
A family history of anxiety or panic attacks can put a person at greater risk for a panic disorder, as can childhood abuse. Attacks usually happen without a discernable trigger, but a period of elevated stress may precede them.
Panic Disorder Interventions
Psychological interventions are available that are effective for panic disorder. Panic attacks have been responsive to several therapies, and often, these therapies can be combined to form an even better treatment plan:
- Exposure therapy: Within a safe place and with a certified therapist, people can be exposed to the feelings and sensations of panic in order to accept them and to learn how to respond to them. As people build coping skills, their fear may subside and the panic attacks may subside as well.
- Medication: Antidepressants and benzodiazepines can be combined with exposure therapy or cognitive behavior therapy and may make these treatments more effective. These medications cannot build coping skills or resolve foundational causes, but they can relieve symptoms so that people can focus on these instead of focusing on the panic attacks.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy aims to treat foundational causes of the panic attacks. If a past trauma or if a negative thinking pattern is contributing to the panic disorder, cognitive behavior therapy will explore it and resolve it. A skilled therapist can also teach clients healthy emotional processing to replace the negative thinking patterns.
Thriveworks Cedar Park Offers Appointments for Panic Disorder
Are you ready to live in freedom from panic attacks instead of fear of them? Thriveworks Cedar Park is ready to help you. You are not alone. We love seeing our clients thrive.
If you are ready to start therapy for your panic attacks, know that when you call Thriveworks Cedar Park to schedule an appointment,
- You will reach a person—not an automated response or voicemail.
- We offer evening and weekend appointments.
- New clients often see their therapist the following day.
- We work with many insurance carriers.
It’s time to be done with panic attacks. Call Thriveworks Cedar Park today.