A panic attack is a sudden, intense fear that quickly reaches a peak within a few minutes, causing symptoms such as:
Your panic attack might be expected because it occurs due to a specific fear. For example, you may have a fear of flying and you’re about to board a plane. Or your panic attack can be unexpected, which means it occurs out of the blue without a trigger.
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. You have panic disorder when you experience recurrent, unexpected panic attacks. Additionally, at least one of your panic attacks is followed by a month or more when you fear you will have another attack.
The fear of an impending panic attack is so severe that you change your behavior to avoid any situation that you think will cause an attack.
The cause of panic attacks is still being studied. However, experts now believe that an imbalance in the brain chemicals that regulate anxiety and mood may trigger the problem.
Your therapist talks with you about your panic attack, learning about your symptoms and what (if anything) triggered the attack. Then they review your medical history and complete a psychological evaluation to determine if any other problem might have caused your symptoms.
The treatment for a panic attack includes psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, or both. Though your therapist may use one of many possible therapies, one type called cognitive behavioral therapy is proven to effectively treat panic attacks.
Medications may ease your symptoms and alleviate your fear. If you have severe and frequent panic attacks, you may temporarily need a benzodiazepine medication. These drugs very effectively ease anxiety and panic attacks, but you can only take them for a short time because they’re addictive.
If you need help for a panic attack, call High Desert Psychological Services or book an appointment online today.