Panic attacks, commonly short lasting (no longer than 10 to 15 minutes, on average) usually proceed along the following lines:
1) A person believes that something terrible is going to happen to him/her
2) The autonomic nervous system activates, and the person begins to experience various physiological symptoms:
- heart palpitations
- chest pains
- abdominal sensations
3) The person experiences various psychological symptoms:
- intense fear
- emotional disturbance
This re-triggers the initial phase (the person concludes once again that he/she is in danger) and a vicious cycle is created.
If left untreated, panic attacks can develop into a panic disorder.
According to the DSM-5, the diagnosis of a panic disorder is made if someone experiences recurrent panic attacks, accompanied by persistent worrying about their consequences, and general concerns regarding their mental wellbeing or fears of further attacks and/or behavioral changes, as a result.
Panic attacks are often accompanied by psychomotor agitation or avoidance behavior (avoidance of specific situations or activities where a panic attack could occur) or even isolation from the other people. This can lead to further difficulties in interpersonal relations or job-related problems.
Sufferers are usually preoccupied with their attacks, which causes intense worry and anxiety, which can lead to sleeping or eating disorders.
Fortunately, panic attacks and panic disorder can be treated successfully.
If you have experienced some of the symptoms listed above, you should consider finding professional help – counseling for panic attacks or panic disorder therapy. Qualified counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Grand Rapids can help you to understand what panic attacks and panic disorder are, and how, why and when they occur. This can help you to perceive threatening situations from a different perspective. They can also teach you how to relax and ease the symptoms and, finally, in the long run, to reduce the number of panic attacks.
We encourage you to contact our office in Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and ask for more information from our qualified staff. Our counselors and therapists will be happy to assist you with identifying and implementing a treatment most suited to your requirements.