The following is an excerpt from a personal story shared on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) regarding panic disorder: “I thought I was going crazy, I thought I was dying and had no one I could talk to that understood. It got so bad that at one point I started a new job and had difficulty driving to work. I couldn’t get there without having a panic attack.”
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder, and affects about 4.7% of adults in the United States at some point in their lives. The following are true symptoms of panic disorder:
- Experiencing unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear followed by physical sensations such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and more
- These panic attacks occur unexpectedly and not in response to a particular situation or event
Panic attacks can certainly affect the ability to carry out one’s day, making it difficult at times to perform at work, engage in social functions, manage household responsibilities, maintain intimate relationships, and more. A 2015 review written by researchers from Michigan explains that panic disorder is often misdiagnosed due to symptom attribution to physical causes. If you have been diagnosed with panic disorder, there are a number of effective treatment methods, including:
- Medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and potentially benzodiazepines
- Physical activity
- Psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of treatment that helps individuals change old, negative, unproductive thought patterns into newer, more productive ones. For those with panic disorder, anxiety is the center of attention – and with that comes a slew of thoughts that are not beneficial to living in the moment. CBT may enforce homework exercises so that the client can practice what they’ve learned outside of therapy. In fact, CBT has been shown to be the most effective type of therapy for panic disorder.
If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about CBT and other treatment options to best suit your needs.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.