Panic attacks

Panic attacks – Panic attacks are a disorder that can be found in 5%-10% of the population, and they can cause a great deal of suffering. A single panic attack can last between 15 minutes and an hour, and these attacks might drive a person into a vicious cycle causing him to refrain from encounters with the causes of the anxiety, to the extent that he no longer leaves the house and enters a state of depression. The good news is that treatment of panic attacks has a high rate of success. Dr. Yael Shlesinger, an expert in clinical psychology, describes the problem and its treatment.

What is a panic attack?

The clinical definition of a panic attack is an exaggerated sense of fear, worry or anxiety; it is inexplicable or irrational and has no particular connection to reality, and can arise as a result of different situations. In other words, people who suffer from anxiety disorders develop a panic attack as a result of different triggers, not necessarily relevant to the situation they are in at the time.

What are the symptoms of a panic/anxiety? attack?

Unexpected panic attacks are accompanied by physical symptoms, such as an accelerated pulse rate and a rise in blood pressure, a sense of pressure and tightness in the chest, excessive sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, blurred vision, sudden diarrhea, and others. The physical symptoms are accompanied by difficult feelings on a psychological level, leading the person to close himself off at home, afraid of losing control, enter a depressive state, etc. The symptoms do not appear because of a specific identifiable trigger, and panic can result from different causes. The fear of these attacks can lead to a diminished quality of life.

How can anxiety be treated?

In order to treat anxiety and fears a person needs to adjust both his behaviour and his thoughts, in order to break the cycle of those fears that are making him avoid certain situations and becoming introverted, impairing normal functioning and empowering anxieties. The cognitive part of the therapy treats the basis of negative feelings by identifying negative and irrational thoughts, and raising the client’s awareness of creating thoughts that are more positive, rational and stable. The behavioral part of the therapy exposes the person gradually and in a manner suited to him specifically, to what he senses are threatening situations, until he is completely equipped to handle them.

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You don’t need to suffer…

The conclusion from all the above is that there is no need to continue suffering. Even if you have the occasional panic attack, and you feel your quality of life is being detrimentally affected, you do not have to suffer! Make an appointment with a recognized clinical psychologist and take care of yourself. The sooner you identify the problem and treat yourself, the easier it will be to get rid of it and to get yourself back in control of your life.