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Panic attacks: What, why, where and how?
Panic attacks can happen to anyone and usually come out of the blue. The problem is that once you have one attack, the experience is so dreadful, that you develop a deep fear of having another attack – and this can lead to severe restrictions in your life. For example, if you had a panic attack whilst in a supermarket, you may start to avoid that supermarket – and eventually, all supermarkets and even all shops. Eventually, you might even be afraid to leave home in case you get a panic attack.
These physical symptoms (see Box) do mimic a heart attack (and often sufferers will seek medical help the first time they get an attack) and consequently can leave the sufferer with feeling of terror, that they are dying and an overwhelming urge to escape. Sufferers also feel embarrassed as they are convinced that everyone can see them acting in a highly unusual manner.
Because the urge to escape is so strong, sufferers tend to leave the situation they are in as soon as possible and usually find that the attack passes quite quickly. However, because they escaped the situation in order to stop the attack, this leaves a deep fear of facing that situation again. This can lead to the development of phobias, especially agoraphobia (fear of going out). Sufferers can become increasingly housebound as their fear of having another panic attack grows.
Treating Panic Attacks
Sufferers can be trained to overcome panic attacks quite easily and the MindTraining Clinic are experts at treating panic attack. The panic cycle needs to be broken in order to beat the problem and cognitive behavioural therapy is used to achieve this. During the sessions, the client is taught not to fear panic attacks because it is this fear that feeds them. It is simple, but very effective therapy. Clients are trained not to escape during a panic attack and thus they weaken the hold that their panic has on them.
“Once I trained my mind not to run away when I had a panic attack, I realised that I could have an attack and survive it! It wasn’t nice, but it didn’t do me any harm. I realised that I didn’t need to fear having an attack and once this fear faded, I stopped having panic attacks. Now, if I ever feel nervous about having a panic attack, I put into place the training tools MindTraining taught me. I haven’t had a full blown panic attack since. “
Symptoms of panic attacks
Symptoms of panic attacks can include:
Shortness of breath
If you have never had a Panic Attack you can't imagine how awful they are. And if you have had one, you will do everything within your power to avoid having another one - that's how awful they are.