Have you ever been in a near miss car accident? You know that feeling-- heart thumping, sudden cold sweat or hot flush. It's not pleasant. But what if you had that feeling all of the sudden, or out of the blue? And that feeling happened again and again...
Panic Attacks are characterized by the quick onset of physical and cognitive symptoms of fear and anxiety. These can including rapid heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, feeling hot or flushing, nausea, dizziness and a whole host of scary thoughts (e.g., Am I dying? Am I losing control or going crazy?)
Panic Attacks are actually fairly common. Research suggests that between 3.3 to 4.6% of the general population experience Panic Attacks from time to time. However, for some people, these attacks occur very frequently and seem to occur "out of the blue". Naturally, because these attacks are so uncomfortable, the person often begins to avoid situations or activities where they think they might have an attack. For instance, for people presenting for the treatment of Panic, we often find that they avoid strenuous physical activities such as exercising, lifting heavy things, or having sex. They may also avoid places and situations where they think it would be hard to escape or get help in the event of a Panic Attack. For instance, they may avoid crowded venues, places with loud noises, movie theaters, air travel, etc. Many individuals with recurrent Panic Attacks seek medical attention because they fear they are having a medical problem, such as a heart attack.
Research shows that Panic Disorder can be effectively treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. More information about Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia can be found here.
Please call our office to find out more about treatment for Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia.