Panic Attacks can be a very frightening experience and might just seem to happen for no apparent reason, at any time and to have a lasting impact. Commonly, people suffering from panic attacks experience feelings of being totally out of control, perhaps developing a sense that they might pass out, or even believe that they are going to die.
Despite the strength and severity of these feelings it IS possible to learn how to manage panic attacks, and with the right kind of help, to be able to totally overcome them.
Thousands of years ago our Ancestors would have found this response very useful in order to survive the dangers that were present, but of course many of those dangers do not exist today (when did you last encounter a Sabre Toothed Tiger?) and so the response is not so helpful anymore.
Despite this fact, we are still “hard-wired” to react this way to “danger” as part of our ‘limbic system’ programming.
What are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks happens when your body experiences a sudden onset of intense symptoms. These symptoms are both psychological and physiological in nature. Usually panic attacks will begin with a sudden feeling of intense fear or panic. This is then generally followed by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, nausea and sweating.
Feeling like this is understandably overwhelming and those who experience it will often hyperventilate which can then lead to more unwanted symptoms, making matters even worse.
Typical panic attacks lasts between five and 10 minutes, but they can seem to last for hours. They tend to end as quickly as they begin and, even though it may not feel like it, they aren’t actually harmful.
When you first experience a panic attack, it can be easily confused with breathing problems or a heart attack so we would advise consulting your GP prior to seeking our help to rule-out any underlying medical problems.
Symptoms of Panic Attacks
While the sensations felt will differ from person to person, common panic attack symptoms include:
- heart ‘palpitations’
- feeling sick
- chest pains
- feeling short of breath
- a choking sensation
- feeling dizzy
- feeling detached from reality (dissociated)
Additionally you may experience some degree of Anxiety, particularly about the fear of having another panic attack.
Causes of Panic Attacks
The cause of panic attacks isn’t fully understood. In some cases there may be a trigger. For example you may start to experience panic attacks during a time of high stress (i.e. after the death of a loved one or an accident). Links between panic attacks and phobias, depression and anxiety have also been noted.
Many experts agree that a combination of physical and psychological factors come into play. Genetics could also contribute as research shows it can run in families. Certain lifestyle choices can also put you more at risk of having panic attacks, for example if you abuse drugs or alcohol.
In some instances the cause is unknown and the panic attacks appear from nowhere. If this is the case for you, you may find hypnotherapy particularly useful. Hypnotherapy can help you uncover deep-seated concerns that may be subconsciously causing your panic attacks.
Hypnotherapy for Panic Attacks
Hypnotherapy has proven effective when dealing with anxiety, fear and stress, and therefore lends itself well to the treatment of panic attacks. The premise behind this form of therapy is to help you cope with specific symptoms using the power of suggestion while helping you overcome limiting beliefs.
Hypnotherapy can also be used to overcome negative thinking and boost self-esteem. Having low self-esteem and thinking negatively may well be contributing to your panic attacks, so addressing these behaviours can really help.
Thrive Programme for Panic Attacks
The Thrive Programme is a multi-session course of applied psychology designed to help you take control of your thoughts and behaviours by helping you identify limiting beliefs which can be the precursor to panic attacks. The programme takes place over 6 – 10 sessions and is based on proven scientific research.
If you’d like to come along to the clinic to discuss the types of therapy suitable for your panic attacks, then please click the button below.