What is a panic attack? Does therapy work?

Panic attack is a type of psychological illness that is frequently encountered today. It is an attack of intense fear, manifested by physical symptoms, that occurs when the person feels that there is a real danger even though there is no real danger. It is the thought of “I will have a heart attack and die” that causes people with panic attacks to be extremely afraid. In other words, the fear of death is intensely experienced at the root of a panic attack. Many people may experience panic attacks at one or more times in their life. However, if panic attacks are continuous, it can be said that they have evolved into panic disorder.

Since it is not known exactly when the panic attack will come, the person is always tense and restless. He does not want to engage in activities such as riding in public transport, walking in shopping malls, going out, thus making his life even more sterile. This situation may cause panic attacks to increase by making the panic attack sufferer even more anxious.

Panic attacks usually come on suddenly and begin to decrease gradually, reaching the peak between 10 and 15 minutes, and disappear. Panic attacks are a type of anxiety disorder. The most common symptoms of panic attacks are heart palpitations, stomach pain, tingling in the chest or arms, numbness, shortness of breath, numbness, feelings of alienation, fear of death, fainting sensations, chills or hot flashes.

Panic attacks occur as follows: We are afraid of any situation and because we are afraid, we start to breathe quickly. This breathing brings with it chest pain or a feeling of not being able to breathe. Rapid breathing accelerates our blood circulation by providing excess oxygen to the brain. You can compare the accelerated blood circulation to suddenly opening a hose attached to a faucet. By putting pressure on the heart, it makes the heart beat faster, and in this process, the balance of the body begins to change. Symptoms such as tingling in the body, abdominal pain, numbness, nausea occur. In this process, thoughts such as “Oh, I’m losing control, I’m going to faint, I’m going to die, I’m going to go crazy” cause the cycle of fear and panic to increase even more.

Among the causes of panic attacks, there are factors such as genetic factors, a stressful past experience, traumatic memories in the past, personality structure, and antidepressant drug use.

When panic attacks are not treated, a decrease in the quality of life of the person is observed. Because the person experiencing panic attacks frequently exhibits avoidance behaviors and instead of facing his fear, he stays away from environments that cause him anxiety such as not wanting to go out of the house, which is less risky, not taking the cinema, bazaar, Sunday, public transport. So the problem gets bigger.

Panic attack is actually a disease that has a very easy and fast treatment. The important thing here is that you start the appropriate drug treatment as an examination to a psychiatrist. It is known that drug-free psychotherapy methods are also very effective in panic attacks besides drug treatment. Because individuals experiencing panic attacks may actually have events or traumas that they have experienced in the past and have difficulty overcoming. By receiving psychotherapy support, these people can make sense of their psychological state and learn how to cope with a panic attack. Here, it is very important for the person to get support from a good therapist with whom he can adapt. Cognitive behavioral therapy in panic, EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) are known to be at least as effective as drugs. With these methods, the emotion, thought and behavior pattern that the person attributes to the events is reconsidered with the therapist and processed. Behavioral homework is given, some interventions are made during the therapy session. What a panic attack is, that a panic attack and a heart attack are different things are discussed with the client, and the client is scientifically explained to the client that this situation has a purely psychological background. In the face of situations such as breathing control and heart palpitations, where no one dies due to panic attacks, it is practiced that the individual is actually in control. The idea of ​​”I am in control” in the client is very effective in treatment. And it is necessary for progress. The client’s avoidance behaviors are determined by the therapist, and confrontation with fears is ensured by determining the confrontation tasks that can be applied, so that the client experiences that the feared thing consists entirely of a thought that exists in the mind and is enlarged. Disaster scenarios are thus refuted and progress is made. In the sessions, methods such as breathing techniques, progressive relaxation exercises, and positive thinking exercises are taught to teach how to deal with anxiety and are encouraged to put these taught methods into practice.

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