If your panic attacks are happening frequently enough to impede your everyday life, it is important you do seek professional help. While many self-help techniques can free you from the bindings of panic attacks, it is important you receive all the help you can to prevent it from taking over your life.
“No matter what you are advised to take or do, remember you are still the one in charge.” (“Smart Ways To Weight Loss: August 2013”) “Weigh up the pros and cons of each treatment and consider if it is something you think will work for you.” (“Free Yourself from Panic Attacks”) Many people find a multi-faceted approach to solving their panic attacks works bestusing a range of solutions to keep it all in check.
Most doctors will advise someone suffering from regular panic attacks to go on antidepressants. These help around fifty to sixty percent of sufferers. While these were developed for depression, being prescribed them does not mean your doctor thinks you are depressed- they just have been found to also collaborate with people suffering from panic attacks.
Antidepressants work by working with your serotonin levels in the brain which has been found to relate to your feelings of panic. It is not a quick fix solution, with the antidepressants taking two to four weeks to kick in and work. Many people will stop taking them after the first week as they feel they are not working. (“Free Yourself from Panic Attacks”)
There are a range of different antidepressants available, and it can be a bit of a process to discover which one meets your needs best. All of them do have side effects and it is up to you to consider whether these are worth experiencing as you take the drug. The most common type prescribed for panic attacks is SSRI antidepressants as these have been devised explicitly to affect serotonin levels.
Some people have also reported that the panic symptoms become worse after the first few days of taking the drug, before calming down again.
If you have been diagnosed with a panic disorder, it is expected you will need to take an antidepressant for at least a year. “Weaning yourself off them is a slow process and needs to be done under the close supervision of a doctor to ensure you do not damage the progress you have made by going off them too fast.” (“Free Yourself from Panic Attacks”) Around half of the people who wean themselves off revert to having panic attacks again. For these people, taking the drug long term is the preferred option.
If you have had cognitive behavior therapy during your time on antidepressants you are less likely to return to having panic attacks once you stop the medication.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
If you want to seek treatment that involves talking and counseling this has been found to be a successful route for around half of people who suffer from panic attacks or agoraphobia.
This type of therapy works because it attempts to both help you process why you may be having the thoughts you have leading up to a panic attack and then help you change your behaviors to help you manage them with you state feeling one build up.
Cognitive therapy is based around the idea that the way we think triggers panic attacks. Any harmful or unbeneficial thinking patterns are worked through and identified along with false beliefs or thoughts you may have (such as everyone thinks you are useless, or you may get trapped in a room of you enter it.) Many of these thoughts can run in a loop before a panic attack so identifying and then dealing with them can sometimes be enough to prevent another attack, or at least reduce its effectiveness at controlling you. (“Free Yourself from Panic Attacks”)
Behavior therapy provides you with tools to help you avoid the avoidance issues often accompanying panic disorders. The therapist will help you to walk through those scenarios that trigger an attack and help you feel more confident and in control, reducing the prevalence’s of a panic attack in these situations. This may include the use of mantras or breathing techniques. (“Get Your Panic Attacks Away”)
If you do not like to use any drug, this method can be a powerful solution. However, it is important to find an experienced therapist who has experience in panic disorders and be prepared for a long haul of therapy. It will not be solved in one or two sessions especially if the panic disorder is a well-established part of your everyday life.
A combination of antidepressants and therapy is often sought after.
Best Wishes, Coyalita
Behavioral Health Rehab Specialist
See Tomorrow: “Help Yourself and Lose the Panic”
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