Alleviating Panic—Therapists and Counselors Who Treat Panic Disorder in Christiansburg, VA
Jake was relaxing, watching TV after a busy day when all of a sudden, his leg went numb and his heart was racing. Jake thought he might be having a heart attack and might die. But he is young—only in his 30s. And he was shaking and cold. Then, after a few minutes, the symptoms all stopped. He seemed physically fine, but Jake was exhausted and scared. At his doctor’s office the next day, Jake learned that he did not have a heart attack—it was a panic attack.
With no warning or cause, panic can surface, debilitate, and exhaust. One panic attack is disruptive, and when they strike multiple times, they may be a psychological disorder called panic disorder.
Some people change their lifestyle to try and avoid panic attacks. In doing so, they may also miss out on time with their loved ones and professional advancement. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol use to ease the uncomfortable feelings and sensations. These, however, generally boost the frequency and severity of the attacks.
Help is available for anyone suffering with a panic disorder because psychological interventions have a proven track record of alleviating panic attacks. That is why Thriveworks Christiansburg offers therapy for panic disorders. We are committed to offering each client care that is tailored to their needs and symptoms.
Panic Disorder Definition and Diagnostics
Panic disorders usually surface when people are in their 20s or 30s, but children and older adults can be diagnosed with the disorder. A family history of panic attacks can raise a person’s risk, as can childhood trauma. In fact, panic disorder is the most common anxiety disorder that survivors of child abuse face.
Panic attacks threaten a person’s overall well-being and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) acknowledges the seriousness of repeated attacks with their diagnosis of a panic disorder (DSM-5 300.01 [F41.0]). The following are characteristics of a panic disorder:
- When two or more panic attacks occur. Severe fear, discomfort, and anxiety characters these attacks which build for several minutes and then wane. At least four of the following must be present:
- Shaking or trembling
- Feelings of choking
- Feeling detached or depersonalized from oneself
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Shortness of breath or feeling smothered
- Palpitations or escalated heart beat
- Fear of going crazy or losing control
- Chest pain or tightness
- Abdominal pain or nausea
- Excessive perspiration
- Dizziness or faintness
- Fear of dying
- Chills or hot flashes
- In response to a panic attack (or multiple attacks), for a period of one month, experiencing both or either of these behaviors:
- Acute apprehension that more panic attacks and/or similar health problems (e.g., a heart attack) will occur.
- Rearranging one’s everyday behaviors, trying to avoid or mitigate the feelings of panic.
For an official diagnosis of panic disorder, the attacks cannot be attributable to another mental health disorder, physical health problem, or side effect of a medication/drug.
Panic Disorder Treatment Plans
No one should miss out on an advancing career or time with their loved ones because they are afraid a panic attack will strike. Treatment plans for a panic disorder are effective and may combine therapies such as:
- Exposure therapy: This therapy helps clients by normalizing the feelings and sensations of a panic attack and then by teaching them healthy ways to respond to the attack. When people know how to respond to a panic attack, their fear often subsides and so do the attacks.
- Medication: Medicine is often used in conjunction with other therapies, making them more effective. Antidepressants and benzodiazepines may relieve symptoms so that people can focus on healing.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy helps people by working through the root causes of the panic. Past trauma, negative thought patterns, and unhealthy behaviors may contribute to the panic attacks, but these can be addressed and resolved. A skilled therapist can guide that process.
Thriveworks Christiansburg Offers Therapy for Panic Disorders
The counselors at Thriveworks Christiansburg are committed to providing holistic treatment for their clients. Whether exposure therapy, medication, cognitive behavior therapy, or a combination gives you the best chance of living without panic attacks, a Thriveworks counselor is ready to craft a treatment plan for you. Panic should not hold anyone back from living their normal life.
When you call Thriveworks Christiansburg to schedule therapy for a panic disorder, know that many first-time clients are able to meet with their therapist the following day. We work with many insurance carriers. Evening and weekend appointments are available, and we never put our clients on a waitlist. Living with panic attacks is hard. Scheduling therapy should be easy.
If you are ready to live without panic, Thriveworks Christiansburg is ready to help. Call today.