Psychotherapy for Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Anxiety and Panic attacks are often dismissed by those around us as nothing more than feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed. However to those who are suffering from these feelings they are very real. To anyone in the grip of a panic attack, the sensations can even feel life threatening.
Feelings of light headiness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and a need to run away from the current situation are all signs that you may be suffering from an attack of anxiety or panic. Other symptoms are withdrawing from normal everyday activities and feeling a loss of control.
Those who have suffered from anxiety or panic attacks often report experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations or a racing heart
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Trembling or shaking
- Choking feeling
- Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
- Feelings of numbness or tingling
- Suddenly feeling Hot or cold
- Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy
Is feeling anxious normal?
The sensation of feeling anxious or even having a little bit of panic is a very normal emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their life. Particularly when faced with a new experience or unfamiliar situation we can feel overwhelmed – the first time we speak in public, attending an interview or perhaps the morning of a big day, such as the first day at a new job.
When does the feeling of Anxiety or Panic become a problem?
If these emotions start to dominate and limit our everyday lives this is the signal that something is wrong. When anxiety and panic attacks become everyday occurrences then it is time to seek help.
You may identify with one of the following features that might indicate that your anxiety or panic is not under control:
- Experiencing frequent, unexpected attacks of panic or anxiety that seem to be related to or triggered by a regular situation or location
- You are beginning to worry regularly about ‘having another panic attack’ which is making you feel anxious
- You are adjusting your behaviour in order to avoid the chance of another episode e.g. avoiding locations, avoiding public transport, avoiding certain groups of people
How can psychotherapy for anxiety help?
Psychotherapy can be very effective at exploring the roots or causes of these feelings of panic or anxiousness and can help you to learn to manage your response to the catalyst of these emotions.
Therapy can also help you by teaching you some techniques to remain calm and enable you to control your breathing and heart rate, which then reduces your cycle of anxiety and reduces the feeling of panic.
I fully understand how frightening these emotions can feel and can help you to move forward and manage them.
What if I can’t talk about the issue because it makes me feel anxious?
Sometimes even thinking about the actual catalyst of the feelings of anxiety or panic can be enough to bring on an attack. In this situation we will work gently around the subject and slowly build up to tackling the cause of the anxiety.
The really good thing is that by finding this page you have already started to deal with your feelings of panic and anxiety by simply exploring what help might be available.
Contact me to discuss how we can work together with psychotherapy to manage your feelings of anxiety and the panic attacks.
You find the following article from NHS Choices useful in explaining what a Panic Attack is and how you can start to cope with one.