Panic Attacks Treatment 1

Panic attacks treatment aims to reduce the frequency of panic attacks and to control the symptoms, which include shortness of breath, tremor, tightness in chest, racing pulse, light-headedness, and nausea. Treatment involves psychological therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Usually psychological therapy in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy is attempted first, and if this does not prove to be enough, medication will then be used. These treatment options will be described to you in detail by your doctor.

Cognitive behavioural therapy has proven to be very effective for a variety of psychological and emotional issues, including panic attacks and general anxiety disorder. During this form of treatment, you will have weekly sessions with a therapist, during which you will discuss what triggers your panic attacks and how your react to them. Together, you will identify and explore negative thoughts and work to replace them with more realistic and optimistic ones. Your therapist will also show you how to deal with panic attacks when they are happening, for example by using breathing exercises and visualization. This form of treatment will usually involve from seven to fourteen hours in total, spread over a period of four months. However, sometimes shorter programmes will be enough.

Your doctor will also advice you on nearby support groups for people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Meeting with other people who are going through the same situation as you can be very helpful, especially because panic attacks tend to isolate the person.

You may be prescribed medications to help with your panic attacks. Antidepressants are often used, especially because many panic attacks sufferers will also battle with depression. Antidepressants can take up to four weeks before they become effective, and you need to be aware of this. The most common types of antidepressants used are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Sometimes, during the first few days of using SSRIs, the feelings of panic and anxiety may actually feel worse, but this will resolve after a few days. SSRIs are generally used for 6 to 12 months.
The other class of medications used for panic disorder are tricyclic antidepressants, which work in a similar way to SSRIs and have a positive effect on your emotions and mood. However, both SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants can have side effects, and it is important to inform your doctor if you experience any undesirable effects. It is also very important that you do not stop your medication unless your doctor advises to do so, because a sudden cessation of medication can trigger side effects and withdrawal symptoms.