It is natural for all of us to experience some degree of panic and anxiety in our day to day lives. This is how we respond to any threatening or stressful situation. But ‘panic disorder’ is quite different from routine stress and anxiety.
What is a panic disorder or a panic attack?
Psychiatrists describe panic disorder as a serious mental condition that can strike unexpectedly and without reason. Some of the common symptoms of this condition are nervousness, fear, racing heart, shivering, sweating, and nausea.
Studies suggest that approximately 6 million adults in the United States have to deal with panic disorder each year. This mental condition usually develops in the childhood years, and women are at a higher risk of experiencing it than men.
The frequency of panic attacks depends on the severity of the condition. While some patients might experience an attack or two each month, others might be confronted with multiple attacks in a week.
So what happens when a person gets a panic attack? To put it simply, the normal fear response of the person blows up dramatically during a panic attack. A person suffering from this disorder could end up developing a consistent fear of recurring attacks over a period of time. This could eventually end up affecting the normal functioning of the individual and affect their general health and quality of life.
It is important to know that panic disorder is usually accompanied by other serious problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse or depression.
Using CBT to treat panic disorder
There are various kinds of treatments to minimize the effects of panic attacks. But these powerful emotional events are best treated with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT. CBT is a clinically proven and highly effective mode of treatment for panic disorder and its associated symptoms.
When an individual suffering from panic disorder goes into the ‘fight-flight’ response, they feel extremely threatened. In fact, the feeling is almost similar to getting a heart attack or other serious illness. Cognitive behavioural therapy is helpful because it guides a patient to slowly replace disastrous cognitions with far more adaptive beliefs. It helps you identify a ‘false alarm’ so that you feel reassured that you’re not actually in danger.
At the Centre for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, we specialize in treating panic disorder through therapy and related techniques. Call us today to book an appointment.