Panic attacks are sudden, intense, and feel horrible. They can be defined as abrupt sensations of intense fear or discomfort that reach a peak within minutes, although they can last up to 30 minutes. Since many of the panic attacks’ physical symptoms resemble those of severe physical conditions (such as a heart attack), many people remain convinced they suffer a life-threatening condition. However, panic attack counseling or panic disorder therapy can help.
During an attack, some of the following physical symptoms can occur: shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations or heart pounding, dizziness, etc. There are also significant psychological symptoms such as derealization, fear of losing control, “going mad” or even dying. If panic attacks become recurrent, it might indicate a panic disorder.
If you are not sure if you have experienced panic disorder, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you especially worried or concerned with regards to these fears?
- Do you avoid certain situations, places, activities, or even people because of these fears?
- Are you worried about how people around you might react to your fears, and are you ashamed or embarrassed because of it?
- Do you feel it’s harder for you to do your job because of your fear and have you reduced some of your activities?
If you have provided a positive answer to at least one of these, you might suffer from panic disorder. According to the DSM-5, panic disorder is defined, along with recurrent panic attacks, by a presence of constant worry about new attacks and significant changes in one’s behavior.
It can lead to great emotional stress, problems with relationships both personal and professional and problems with confidence, depression, and even employment.
Regardless of whether you seek panic attack counseling or panic disorder therapy, our counselors and therapists at Thriveworks in Providence, RI can provide informational help and direction, or start a therapy that can include a restructuring of how you think about panic attacks, relaxation techniques, and finally, exposure to possible “triggers” in order to overcome fears.
If you have experienced any of the symptoms above, we encourage you to seek professional help and get in touch with our Providence office, where you can get more information or schedule a session with our qualified counselors and therapists.