Dealing With Panic Attacks – Detailed Review and Information

Treatment of Panic Disorder

The treatment starts as soon as possible, as soon as the diagnosis of panic disorder is made, to avoid the occurrence and installation of agoraphobia and / or depression.

This is a background treatment carried out in collaboration between various health professionals (doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist …) with several goals:

avoid the occurrence of panic attacks;

suppressing anticipatory anxiety (fear of a repetition of the anxiety attack);

put an end to avoidance behaviors (changes in the patient’s behavior, designed to avoid distressing situations for him).

The doctor chooses the most appropriate care for the person: psychotherapy, management of the disorder by oneself, drugs.

Dealing With Panic Attacks – Treatments

Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy in Panic Disorder

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) aims to change a person’s attitude to the situations they fear. It is effective to manage as to prevent panic attacks. It helps to correct erroneous impressions of imminent danger, and especially agoraphobia (reduction of avoidance behaviors).

The sessions are held individually or in groups. In general, 12 to 18 sessions are required, one per week for 3-4 months.

This method is based in particular on:

The patient’s information concerning his panic disorder (no physical risk during a panic attack, no need for repeated complementary examinations, risk of abusing anxiolytics or alcohol);

The support of those around you (the spouse can participate in some sessions).

In case of panic disorder, the therapist can offer his patient the gradual exposure to dreaded situations so that he “tames” them. Thus, to reduce anticipatory anxiety, the psychotherapist invites his patient out of his home, to use public transport or to stay in places that are anxiety-provoking. This exposure, longer and longer each time, can be done directly in a real environment (alone or with the therapist). The anxiety is intense during the first outings, then it tends to diminish with time. If the apprehension is too strong at the beginning, the person can start by making these displacements in imagination.

Between two sessions dedicated to learning this technique, the doctor prescribes exercises to be performed by oneself.

Dealing With Panic Attacks by Yourself

Self-management of panic disorder

Self-management of panic disorder is addressed during psychotherapy sessions, or using textbooks based on behavioral and cognitive therapy. It is based on the mastery of techniques that can be used during panic attacks:

the respiratory regulation, that is to say the control of the rhythm and the amplitude of the inspirations and expirations, is learned in 3 to 4 sessions. It serves to control the hyperventilation due to the acceleration of the respiratory rhythm;

relaxation methods are useful for managing anxiety by oneself.

In addition, it is recommended to develop your physical activity, as it contributes to the reduction of stress and body well-being.

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