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Panic Disorders in Short Pump, VA—Therapy and Counseling

Liz was sleeping sweetly one evening when all of a sudden she wasn’t. She woke with a knot in her stomach and an elephant on her chest. Liz was perspiring and breathing heavily even though she had just been relaxed and asleep. Her heart raced. Right before she was ready to call an ambulance, the feelings faded. Did she have a heart attack or a stroke? Liz decided to go see the doctor in the morning, and there, she found out that this was a panic attack.

People can suffer from panic attacks without warning and without a discernable reason. When they occur repeatedly and disrupt daily life, they may have become a panic disorder. Panic attacks are exhausting and debilitating, and people who suffer from them reasonably arrange their lives to try to prevent them. But they often miss out on work, family, and friends in the process. Others attempt to handle panic’s difficult emotions and sensations through drug or alcohol use, but these substances can make the attacks more frequent or severe.

And yet, psychological treatments are available that may allow people to participate in their regular routine. With the guidance and care of a skilled therapist, many explore and resolve the root causes of the panic disorder. The therapists at Thriveworks Henrico treat panic disorders. They often combine cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, and/or medication to tailor a treatment plan that addresses their clients’ specific needs.

Panic Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

Panic attacks are a serious threat to a person’s mental health, and The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) recognizes panic disorders (DSM-5 300.01 [F41.0]). The following characterizes a panic disorder:

  • When a person suffers from repeated (at least two) and unpredictable panic attacks. People often feel discomfort, anxiety, and fear that builds for several minutes and then subsides during the attack. At least four of the following symptoms must be present to be considered a panic attack:
    • Fear of going crazy or losing control
    • Perspiring excessively
    • Fear of death
    • Irregular or escalated heart rate
    • Shaking or convulsions
    • Feeling choked
    • Depersonalization or detachment from oneself
    • Feeling smothered or experiencing shortness of breath
    • Numbed or tingling sensations
    • Chest pain and/or tightness
    • Dizziness and/or faintness
    • Nausea and/or abdominal pain
    • Hot flashes or chills
  • Experiencing at least one of the following after a panic attack (or panic attacks) for at least one month:
    • Acute concern that another panic attack will occur and/or another, similar, negative health consequences will occur (e.g., a stroke).
    • Adjusting one’s everyday schedule in an attempt to avoid or decrease the panic.

Panic disorders usually begin when people are in their 20s and 30s; however, children and older adults have suffered with a panic disorder. People who have lived through childhood trauma or abuse have a greater risk of suffering from a panic disorder. Genetic history can also increase a person’s risk of panic disorder. While the attacks can occur without an obvious, immediate trigger, many people describe a particularly stressful situation that preceded their first panic attack.

Therapies for Panic Disorders

Skipping out on work opportunities, family functions, and fun with friends is not the only option for people who suffer from a panic disorder. Various therapies can be combined to find a treatment plan that addresses people’s particular needs, and panic disorders have proven responsive to these therapies. Some of those effective therapies include:

  • Exposure therapy: With a skilled therapist and a safe space, people can learn to normalize, accept, and cope with their panic attacks through being exposed to their feelings and sensations. When people increase their ability to cope with the attacks, their frequency and severity may decrease.
  • Medication: Certain medicines may make exposure therapy or cognitive behavior therapy more effective. Antidepressants or benzodiazepines can abate symptoms so that people can more easily build coping skills and/or address root causes of the disorder.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: Certain unhealthy behavior patterns or thought systems could be contributing to the panic disorder. These, often, are learn during a childhood trauma. Cognitive behavior therapy aims to work through the trauma and replace unhealthy behavior and/or thinking that resulted with healthy ones.

Therapy at Thriveworks Henrico, VA

Are you missing out on your life because you do not want to have another panic attack? Know that Thriveworks Short Pump have appointments available for panic disorders because we want our clients to experience life to the fullest. If you are ready to thrive, we are ready to help.

Are you ready to get help for your panic attacks? Know that when you call our office…

  1. Night and weekend appointments are available.
  2. A person will answer—not a voicemail.
  3. Many insurance plans are accepted.
  4. New clients may schedule their first appointment within 24 hours.

It’s time to live your life. Call Thriveworks Short Pump.

Thriveworks Counseling

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Mary Davis, LPC

Mary and I have worked together for the last two years. She has been instrumental in assisting me to reach my ...Read more

goal of being a Licensed Professional Counselor. Her clinical perspective, knowledge, and understanding of counseling principles has made an positive impact on how I approach my clients. Mary offers an abundance of education and clinical expertise that she easily shares with others. Mary demonstrates empathy, clinical knowledge, has a sense of humor, and realistic view of client needs. She has the ability to tap into the client's world which enhances their therapeutic experience.

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I've worked with Caitlin Devey, and I've seen the care and concern she provides her clients. She is invested ...Read more

in their wellbeing and offers clinically sound services. Caitlin is supportive, down to earth, but is also willing to tackle the tough issues, and by doing so, increases clients' growth and sets clients up for long-term success.

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Rebekah Lowenstein

Mrs. Lowenstein is one of my favorite people and one of the best supervisors I've ever had the pleasure of wor...Read more

king with. Her commitment to my success as an MSW is nothing short of miraculous. She has advocated for me to get supervision from the Board of Social Work and has been next to me every step of my journey. Rebekah continues to go above and beyond for me and I have not doubt that she will do this for her clients as well. She is patient, funny, personable, competent, and one of the smartest women I know.

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Thriveworks Counseling

Schedule your first appointment with a Thriveworks Counselor or Life Coach!

  • 12093-95 Gayton Rd
    Henrico , VA 23238

  • Mon-Fri:8AM-9PM

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