A panic attack is a complex interaction of physical signs, thoughts and emotions. While panic attacks can be terrifying, with patients often believing they are dying or having a nervous breakdown, it is possible to learn to cope with them. Our therapists have had great success through re-educating and training, so that panic patients are no longer terrified of their physical symptoms and the attacks gradually lessen in severity and frequency.
Research indicates that while everyone has automatic thoughts, in those people suffering from panic attacks and anxiety, the thoughts are likely to contain common themes such as danger. By examining the factual evidence, patients understand that although panic attacks are very unpleasant, they are not dangerous.
Often, people who suffer from panic attacks have significant stress in their lives, and this is made worse if they have difficulty asserting themselves as their problems remain unsolved and continue to cause stress. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help with these problems alongside the panic attacks themselves.
The basis of therapy involves helping the patient to examine thoughts to see if they are distorted or exaggerated, to view situations more realistically and to think of solutions for these problems. We also help them sort through any background stressors to ease the panic problems.