- Have you experienced panic attack symptoms like shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness, shakiness, or a feeling of unreality?
- Do these anxiety symptoms seem to come on for no apparent reason?
- Are you avoiding certain places, situations or activities because you’re afraid they will trigger an anxiety attack?
- Does it feel like it’s getting more and more out of control?
- Is your life on hold because of your anxiety?
Panic attacks often occur out of the blue, without warning. Or, they can occur in specific situations you fear- – like having to give a presentation or speak up at a work meeting (social anxiety -link), riding a crowded elevator (claustrophobia), or driving on the freeway or flying (phobias).
If you’ve experienced a panic attack, you know how terrifying and debilitating it is. It leaves you feeling helpless and riddled with fear that it will happen again. And if you’re like most people who have anxiety symptoms, you’ll do almost anything to try and prevent them from happening again.
What you don’t realize is that your avoidance of situations, called agoraphobia , (link) and the things you do to try and cope with panic attack symptoms – – take a Xanax, call someone for support, leave where you are – – have the opposite effect: they keep your anxiety going! And this vicious cycle of fear and agoraphobia has a way of expanding, causing you to give up more and more aspects of your life. This problem of worrying about panic attacks and avoiding situations is diagnosed as Panic Disorder.
Therapy for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The good news is Panic Disorder is very treatable. You can learn to manage anxiety symptoms and overcome panic attacks so they no longer terrify you. The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (link) approach I use to treat anxiety attacks and agoraphobia is the most evidence-based and effective treatment for Panic Disorder. You will learn what causes panic attacks and how to control them. I will explain to you how anxiety symptoms build to a full-out panic attack and how to break this cycle. With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including Exposure Therapy (link), you will overcome your fear and get your life back!