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peggy@claytontherapy.com
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(314) 644-3339

peggy@claytontherapy.com

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

anxietyphoto

Freedom from Panic Attacks and Anxiety

What are panic attacks?

Panic disorder is a psychological condition in which people experience unexpected or unexplainable episodes of intense fear. These episodes of fear called “panic attacks” or “anxiety attacks,” reach their peak intensity within about 10 minutes, and generally subside within 30 minutes.

The experience of panic may include chest pain, sweating, racing heart, nausea, upset stomach, sense of incontinence, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, dizziness, lightheadedness, shaking or trembling, chills or hot flashes, numbness or tingling sensations, feelings of unreality, feelings of choking, fear of dying, and fear of losing control or going crazy.

How to stop panic attacks.

Whether you’re dealing with panic attacks with the help of a professional or on your own, there are three main components to stopping panic attacks:

  1. Recognizing the triggers for panic attacks.
  2. Learning new ways to respond to panic triggers.
  3. Learning new ways to respond to panic symptoms.

Know the triggers for panic attacks

People often believe that their panic attacks come out of nowhere and thus are out of their control. However, there is usually a cause (i.e. trigger) for panic attacks. There are four common panic attack triggers that cognitive-behavioral therapy or introspection can help you identify:

1) Situations – ex. a crowded room, loud noise, bright lights, feeling trapped.

2) Thoughts – ex. thinking about an upcoming flight, deadlines, or medical concerns.

3) Physical sensations – ex. sweating, an increase in heart rate, or other physical sensations that you’ve come to associate with panic attacks can trigger the attack, even if you weren’t anxious to begin with.

4) Emotions – ex. getting angry can trigger panic for some people; feeling lonely or stressed for others.

Anxiety Relief Technique

Learning new ways to respond to panic triggers.

1) Changing irrational thinking processes about panic triggers (e.g. “My heart is racing but that does NOT mean I will have a heart attack.”)

2) Gradually exposing yourself to situations that trigger panic in order to get used to them and feel safe in them.

3) Gradually becoming accustomed to the physical sensations that trigger panic. (e.g. Intentionally increasing your heart rate or inducing sense of breathlessness — this is a technique called Interoceptive Exposure.

4) Developing tools for managing anger or other emotions that may trigger panic.

5) Noticing anxiety in its early stages so you can address it before it turns into panic.

Learning new ways to respond to panic symptoms

1) Becoming skilled at relaxing yourself in order to have control over the physical signs of panic.

2) Reminding yourself that though unpleasant, the attack is harmless and will pass.

3) Learning to tolerate the experience of anxiety.

4) Anxiety Relief Practice to prevent exacerbation of panic symptoms.

By clicking on Tests, you can learn whether any anxiety related issues that you are experiencing merit further attention. There is a Social Anxiety, Social Phobia, and Anxiety as well as tests around other issues that you might find helpful.

I have been providing Anxiety Treatment for panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorders and phobias for over 35 years. You can expect expertise, understanding and compassion from me. I view the counseling relationship as a safe place for healing and growth to occur. I feel privileged to hear and come to understand how your story has affected who you are today. And I would love to see you break out of your negative patterns and experience real joy, as you finally experience the meaningful change you have almost given up on.

 Call me at 314-644-3339.  I am ready to help.

Learn More :
Overcome Depression and Anxiety

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“Thanks so much for all your help in getting my life going again!. I’m letting go of old relationships that aren’t nurturing me. In January I’ll be attending the new members class at church. This month I’m helping out with a XMAS party for children of prisoners. My headaches are better, but relieved getting off of the 2 preventive medications.” ~ W

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Peggy Levinson, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information based on the experience of Peggy Levinson and her community. Peggy Levinson encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.