“Panic disorder” affects two to three percent of the U.S. population annually, with women being twice as likely to be affected as men. Individuals with this disorder experience a racing heart, an inability to think clearly, and sweating for no obvious reason. Because these attacks occur spontaneously, those affected live in fear that they may happen at any time, which causes them to avoid many social and work situations. The first step in coping with this disorder is learning that it stems from misinterpreting sensations linked with the “fight-or-flight response” as dangerous, which triggers the symptoms of a panic attack. It is then necessary to challenge the “overestimation” that a threat will present itself and analyze “catastrophic thoughts” for validity.
It is difficult to enjoy life when you can’t anticipate when a panic attack will happen or what will set it off. Learning to identify and cope with the fears that trigger panic responses is the first step toward a healthier and more productive way of life. Our licensed therapists can provide guidance and a safe and neutral space in which to explore the sources of your anxiety and offer strategies help you to put them in manageable perspective. Please call one of our office for an appointment or see our website for a free on-line assessment, we help people cope with everyday living.
P.S. Part of the treatment of panic disorder involves facing the fears and situations that have been avoided.