Panic Disorder Counseling in Woodhaven, MI—Therapy for Panic Attacks

Guy sat at his desk, working attentively on a normal day when out of the blue, he felt like he was looking down upon himself. Was he going crazy? Guy could feel his heart racing, his fingers going numb, and cold coursing through his body. But at the same time, nothing felt real. Several of his coworkers checked on him to see if he was alright. Then, after a few minutes, everything stopped, but Guy was still exhausted, embarrassed, and shaken. He was able to see his doctor that afternoon, where Guy learned he had a panic attack.

Some people respond to panic attacks by changing their routines. They may stay home, avoid certain places, or stop some activities in the hopes of preventing another attack. Others may turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve the discomfort of such an awful experience. However, neither strategy is effective at soothing panic attacks. Self-medication often intensifies the attacks. Changing one’s schedule rarely prevents attacks, but it almost always means that people miss out on professional advancement opportunities and personal connection with friends and family.

In contrast, psychological interventions have proven effective at treating panic disorders. Skilled counselors may form a personalized treatment plan that combines therapies such as exposure therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. When people find healing for past trauma or when they learn new coping skills, panic attacks may become less severe or may even cease completely.

The counselors at Thriveworks Woodhaven offer therapy for panic disorders, and we have helped many clients find a personalized treatment plan that has met their needs and helped relieved their panic attacks.

Panic Disorders: Risk Factors and Symptoms

Children and older adults can be diagnosed with a panic disorder, but these cases are rare. Typically, the disorder affects young adults—people in their 20s and 30s. It may surface after a time of elevated stress, but it can occur without warnings or triggers. A family history of panic attacks or anxiety can increase a person’s risk for a panic disorder. Childhood abuse or trauma can also increase a person’s risk.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) summarizes the symptoms that identify panic disorders (DSM-5 300.01 [F41.0]):

  • Experiencing two or more panic attacks that occur without warning and without an identifiable cause. Acute anxiety, discomfort, and fear build during the attack for several minutes and then abate. At least four of the following must be present as well:
    • Irregular or escalated heart rate
    • Excessive sweating
    • Abdominal pain or nausea
    • Feeling detached from oneself
    • Numbness or tingling sensations
    • Trembling or shaking
    • Difficulty breathing or feeling choked
    • Chest pain or tightness
    • Feeling smothered or claustrophobic
    • Dizziness or faintness
    • Hot flashes or chills
    • Fear of death
    • Fear of losing control or being perceived as crazy
  • Reacting to at least one of the panic attacks with one or both of the following experiences for a minimum of one month:
    • Changing one’s daily personal and/or professional schedule—hoping to avoid anything that may trigger an attack.
    • Experiencing acute worry that more attacks may happen and/or a similar health problem will occur (e.g., a stroke or heart attack).

Panic Attacks: Treatment and Interventions

Several treatments and interventions have helped people overcome their panic attacks, and these can be combined to formulate a personalized treatment plan that meets people’s specific needs and symptoms. These treatments and interventions may include:

  • Exposure therapy: The goal of exposure therapy is to normalize the experiences of a panic attack and equip people with effective coping skills. People often feel empowered when they understand panic attacks and when they know what to do if they occur. As people’s confidence in their ability to handle the attack rises, the frequency and severity of the attacks often lowers.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to identify and heal any foundational causes of the panic attacks. Past trauma can have lingering effects and can cause negative thought patterns that may contribute to the panic disorder. Healing these wounds often means the panic attacks abate.
  • Medication: Benzodiazepines or antidepressants may be used in conjunction with cognitive behavior therapy or exposure therapy to increase their effectiveness. Medicine may allow people to focus on healing and building coping skills instead of dealing with panic attacks.

Setting Up Therapy for Panic Attacks

Have you had a panic attack? Is anxiety about having another one keeping you from living your life? Know that Thriveworks Woodhaven has appointments available for panic attacks. Our goal is to provide each client with holistic, individualized treatment.

Living with a panic disorder is challenging. Setting up therapy for the panic disorder should not be. When you call our office, this is what we have done to make the process as easy as possible…

  • We with many insurance companies.
  • A person—not an automated response—answers our phone.
  • New clients usually meet with their therapist within 24 hours of their call.
  • Evening and weekend appointments are available.

Are you ready to fight your panic attacks? Thriveworks Woodhaven is on your side. Call today.

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