Therapy for a Panic Disorder in Hampton, VA—Calming Panic Attacks
Connie was enjoying her lunch at the park one moment, and the next moment, she felt like she could not breath. Her heart pounded, and Connie’s body started shaking and sweating profusely. It was a pleasant day, but Connie felt like a fire was burning inside of her. She thought she might die. Within a few long minutes, these feelings and sensations ebbed and then stopped. Connie was exhausted—she had a panic attack.
Panic attacks can afflict people without warning and without a clear reason. Often people experience repeated panic attacks and suffer from a panic disorder. In an effort to avoid the uncomfortable feelings and sensations, people may adjust their daily routine, but in doing so, they also may miss out on work opportunities, family events, and time with friends. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol to avoid the intense feelings of panic attacks, but these often increase the frequency or severity of the attacks.
Alternatively, psychological treatments have proven effective for a panic disorder. That is why Thriveworks Hampton provides therapy for panic attacks—we want everyone to live free from the fear of when or why panic may strike.
Acknowledging the Panic Disorder
Panic attacks are not just unpleasant experiences—they can be symptoms of serious psychiatric disorders. When they surface without other psychiatric symptoms and are repeated, they are serious enough to form their own disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) acknowledges panic disorders (DSM-5 300.01 [F41.0]) with the following diagnostics:
- Experiencing repetitive panic attacks (more than one) that cause intense discomfort, fear, and anxiety. These attacks often escalate for several minutes and then abate. They are also distinguished with a minimum of four of the following:
- Abdominal pain or nausea
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Chills or hot flashes
- Shortness of breath or feeling smothered
- A choking feeling
- Dizziness or faintness
- Trembling or shaking
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Perspiring profusely
- Depersonalization/feeling detached from oneself
- Fear of dying
- Palpitations or increased heart rate
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- In response to the panic attack(s), developing one or both of the following for the minimum of one month:
- Adjusting one’s behavior patterns in an attempt to lessen or avoid the attacks.
- Feeling relentless worry over another panic attack striking and/or facing similar, negative health effects (e.g., having a heart attack).
Other mental health disorders have panic attacks as symptoms, and panic attacks can be cause by medications or other medical conditions. Therefore, panic disorder cannot be diagnosed if the attacks can be attributed to another mental health disorder, the physiological effects of a drug, or another medical condition.
Getting Help for a Panic Disorder
Panic disorders to not have to rob people of their daily life. Effective treatments are available, and often, skilled therapists can integrate several types of therapy to form a plan that is tailored to an individual’s needs and gives an individual the greatest chance for successful treatment.
- Medication: When combined with other forms of therapy, medicine may enhance the therapy’s efficacy. Medication, while not a long-term cure, can alleviate or eliminate symptoms so that clients can more easily learn coping skills or address the panic disorder’s root.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: With the goal of treating the foundational causes of the panic disorder, cognitive behavior therapy explores negative thought and behavior patterns that have formed and need to be adjusted. These may be grounded in a traumatic experience or dysfunctional family pattern.
- Exposure therapy: With the goal of building coping skills and putting the fear in perspective, exposure therapy allows clients to experience the panic attack in a safe environment. With coaching and support, clients can normalize the sensations and become empowered to handled them.
Therapy at Thriveworks Hampton, VA
If you have experienced a panic attack, you are not alone. Many people suffer from unexpected panic attacks. Acknowledging the problem and reaching out for help takes courage, but Thriveworks Hampton is here to help. Our therapists are dedicated to forming holistic treatment plans for each, individual client. We work with our clients to find a good balance of cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, and/or medication.
When you call our office to schedule therapy, you may be able to see your therapist the following day. We offer evening and weekend appointments. You will not be put on a waitlist (because we do not have one). We also accept many forms of insurance.
Panic attacks should never stop anyone from living their life. Call Thriveworks Hampton to start fighting your panic disorder.