Monica has never been comfortable in social situations, but she’s always managed. Lately though, she’s found herself becoming unexpectedly uncomfortable, to the point of feeling her chest constrict.
Have you ever felt inexplicably, uncontrollably panic-stricken—even when there was nothing threatening you? This is called a panic attack. Repetitive panic attacks are classified as a panic disorder, which affect about one in seventy-five people (American Psychological Association).
Peachtree City Panic Disorder Counseling
If you suffer from frequent panic attacks, you may have started to develop certain behaviors and routines to avoid another attack. You may avoid certain routes on your drive, quit attending various social events, or avoid leaving the house. This is a sign that you have developed a panic disorder. This disorder is characterized by frequent panic attacks, a great deal of worry about a future attack, and altering behavior or actions to avoid triggering an attack.
This is a big deal. Altering your life to avoid triggering a panic attack means making big sacrifices—sacrifices you shouldn’t have to make. Life should be about making yourself happy and contributing to others’ happiness, not avoiding experiences.
At Thriveworks Peachtree City, our counselors and psychologists understand how difficult it is to live with panic disorder. We’ve worked with many patients who needed help with frequent panic attacks, and we’ve had good success with helping them find relief. You don’t have to give up activities you’ve previously enjoyed, and you don’t have to give up the activities of daily life, like travel and driving. We want to see you live a fulfilling life, and the first step to doing so is finding a panic disorder counselor in Peachtree City.
What Causes Panic Attacks?
If you’re suffering from panic attacks, it’s only natural that you’re curious about what causes them. The truth is, it’s not entirely clear what causes panic attacks. Sometimes panic disorders runs in families, though there’s no clear determining factor for who will have them and who will not. Some researchers think people with panic disorder misinterpret normal sensations as threats (National Institute of Mental Health). In other words, the body receives a signal, perhaps related to the number of people in close proximity, that the body should more or less ignore. Instead, the body decides it’s a threat and causes the body to react appropriately.
It’s frustrating when the body and mind conspire to cause an irregular reaction—and one that happens at random times, preventing us from planning ways around it.
To make matters more frustrating, a panic disorder can have further impact on your life than simply the attacks themselves. On going panic disorder can result in (American Psychological Association):
- Being more prone to alcohol and other drug abuse
- Greater risk of attempting suicide
- Spending more time in hospital emergency rooms
- Spending less time on hobbies, sports and other satisfying activities
- Tending to be financially dependent on others
- Feeling emotionally and physically less healthy than non-sufferers
- Fear driving more than a few miles away from home
Any one of these side effects would be difficult to deal with, but many of them are a direct threat to your health.
The good news is, even though the exact cause isn’t known, the panic attacks and side effects from it can both be addressed in therapy at Thriveworks Peachtree City.
How Counseling Can Help
There are several parts to Peachtree City panic disorder therapy. First, it’s important the client understand they’re not “going crazy.” It’s a frustrating experience, but it can be addressed through therapy—and many, many people have successfully dealt with it before.
Other interventions that many find helpful are exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. If there is something triggering the panic attack, we’ll help identify that trigger. Once the patient realizes the trigger is separate from the panic attack, the trigger loses some of its power. If you have already identified the trigger or triggers, you might have been avoiding it. Though it’s understandable, it’s not an effective way to live long term. Our counselors in Peachtree City can help you slowly expose yourself to the trigger, all along teaching you steps for dealing with the physical and emotional responses brought on by that exposure. Eventually, you’ll have the skills to deal with unexpected triggers even when alone.
Sometimes, medication is also useful to help panic disorder become more manageable. It’s not uncommon for antidepressants to be prescribed by a psychiatrist when panic attacks are particularly unbearable, but it’s important that your psychiatrist think they’re necessary, since antidepressants come with additional risks.
There are certain things that you can do on your own to avoid panic attacks. Relaxation techniques, focused and controlled breathing, and avoiding caffeine and smoking can all help lessen the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. Thriveworks Peachtree City counselors can help you practice these methods and put them into practice. Victory over panic disorder is possible. Thriveworks Peachtree City counselors can help you make this a reality.
Thriveworks Peachtree City
Though frequent panic attacks are frightening and can make you feel like you’re losing your grip on normal life, relief is possible with the help of a professional counselor or psychologist. Thriveworks Peachtree City counselors and therapists are leaders in their field. They are ready to put this expertise to work for you. We do not believe in waiting lists and have appointments available within 24 hours for new clients. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get on a path to recovery.
American Physiological Association. “Answers to Your Questions about Panic Disorder.” Apa.org.
National Institute of Mental Health. “Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms.” Nimh.nih.gov.