How Do you Treat a Panic Attack?

By: Lyle Richards

You suddenly feel fear and anxiety. Your palms are clammy, there is tightness in your chest and you cannot breathe properly. "Am I having a heart attack?", you say to yourself. Scary thoughts are racing through your mind and more you think about what is going on the more your fear grows.

If you have every suffered these frightening feelings then you may have had a panic attack. In the US, 3 to 6 million people will have some type of panic attack during their lifetime and many of these people suffer panic attacks on a regular basis. A panic attack can happen suddenly with no warning, anywhere, anytime - at work, home, even when a person is asleep.

A panic attack is an event in which the body's "fight or flight" response is set off, often with no obvious stimulus or reason.

Why it Happens
Everyone experiences stress and for most people they are able to cope with it. However, for some people, the stress builds up in their body and a panic attack ensures. For many sufferers, the experience of the panic attack is so frightening that they begin to become afraid of another panic attack occurring, which raises the sufferers stress levels - and the panic attack cycle continues.

Panic attacks are considered by psychologists and psychiatrists as a potentially disabling but treatable condition.

Drug Treatments
There are a number of different ways that panic attacks can be treated. Medications are probably the most used intervention, with doctors usually prescribing antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac.

Psychological Treatments
As far as psychological interventions is concerned, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is considered to be very effective in treating panic attacks. When undergoing CBT, patients are taught to recognize the thinking patterns that heighten their anxiety and stress. Therapy should be a long term process and if you take it seriously you are likely to see some great results. A combination of both approaches - medication and CBT - is often considered to be one of more the effective methods.

Programs from Former Panic Attack Sufferers
Not everyone however, finds that traditional treatments are the best method for treating their panic attacks. After being crippled with their problems and failing with drug treatments, several former sufferers of panic attacks have found ways to overcome their attacks without medications and have began to teach other people what they have learned. Typically, these courses are in the form of home study programs which people can use at home and incorporate in to their daily lives. The main advantage of these programs is that they are made by former sufferers of panic attacks and makes users feel like they are not alone with their symptoms and that someone finally understands what they are going through.

While panic attacks are a frightening experience, the key thing to know is that you are not alone and that they are a treatable. You should thoroughly research your treatment options, talk to your doctor and don't get discouraged.

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