They are described as a sudden feeling of intense apprehension, fear or terror together with physical symptoms such as difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness and shaking. The condition “Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia” is where panic attacks occur on a regular or irregular basis without reason or warning.
Panic attacks are common and occur in up to five percent of the general population.
Panic attacks are always a symptom of stress and they can be very frightening if the person doesn’t know what is happening. Stress can be defined as an imbalance between the demands made on us and our personal resources to deal with those demands.
Panic attacks can also be a feature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other types of trauma. Carolyn is trained in trauma-informed therapies.
Learning what causes panic attacks, e.g. stress, is half the treatment.
The other half of the treatment is stress management using evidence-based psychological treatments like the cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT & ACT). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) have been shown to be very helpful for reducing stress and eliminating panic attacks.