Panic Disorders

Panic disorder is a common condition that affect individuals in a variety of situations. People with panic disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes. Sometimes symptoms may last longer and these are called panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterised by a fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger. A person may also have a strong physical reaction during a panic attack. It may feel like having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder worry about and dread the possibility of having another attack. Individuals with panic disorder often may become discouraged and feel ashamed because he or she cannot carry out normal routines like going to the grocery store or driving. Having panic disorder can also interfere with school or work. They often engage in range of behaviours such as avoidance and 'safety seeking behaviours' to cope which often perpetuates their panic disorder.

In an assessment session, you will be encouraged to look at your problems and develop goals as well as developing a shared understanding of your problems .A plan will be developed collaboratively with an estimated number of sessions together with a review date, should this be appropriate. Further CBT sessions involve setting an agenda for the sessions, summaries to check understanding and homework tasks to help to facilitate changes. This may involve keeping records of thoughts or activities or it may involve doing things differently to observe the outcomes, developing hierarchies of fears and undertaking exposures and behavioural experiments dropping of safety seeking behaviors and avoidance to testing you’re your predictions related to your panic. At the end of each session there is an opportunity for feedback and to raise any difficulties.

The NICE guidelines for Anxiety Disorders published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence outline evidence based treatment recommendations for different aspects of anxiety. CBT is the suggested approach together with medication in more severe cases.

It is important to seek help from your GP or a mental health professional should you experience symptoms or think you may be depressed to enable you to access the help that you need.

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