Treatment For Panic Attacks

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Treatment for panic attacks can be administered by medication, therapy, and even self help techniques, such as meditation, and self-hypnosis. Depending on the specifics of the attacks, different individuals respond better to some treatments than to others. However, most treatments seem to be built on a foundation of self awareness and positive visualization. Apart from that, treatment for panic attacks can range from behavioral modification, to simple preventative measures, to intensive medicinal and psychotherapeutic programs.

A combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy is considered by most experts to be the most effective basic treatment for panic attacks. Overall therapy begins by introducing the patient to the nature of panic attacks, providing a good deal of information that can help the patient gain an understanding of what the disorder and the attacks exactly entail. This is especially helpful to the numerous panic attack victims who mistakenly believe their attacks are a sign that they are going insane, or close to death.

Therapy Treatment For Panic Attacks

Cognitive therapy then assists the patient in assessing the events of their life in order to determine possible catalysts for their panic attacks. These catalysts, known as "triggers," can be highly personalized, and range from the obvious, such as a frightening event or situation, to the subtle, such as a particular word, sound, smell, or noise. In the case of the latter, the trigger may be connected to some long forgotten unpleasant situation, and now serves to recall the feelings associated with the situation, but not the situation itself. The next step is known as "cognitive restructuring," and it entails changing one's patterns of thinking. This is done in such a way as to maintain awareness of the triggers, which allows the patient to consciously replace them with more realistic and positive ways of thinking.

Behavioral therapy is based on the concept of "introceptive exposure." This is a technique that focuses on the patient's awareness of the physical symptoms that occur to them during a panic attack,. This is done because, in most cases, people with a panic disorder actually grow more afraid of their own panic attacks than they are of the triggers that induce them. Most people who have experienced the physical pains of a panic attack are frightened of the situation ever being repeated. Behavioral therapy requires the patient to examine and understand the symptoms of their panic attacks in a controlled, safe setting. This approach instills the necessity of a rational perspective in patients, showing them how the symptoms do not need to explode into a true panic attack.

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