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Panic Attacks/Disorder Therapy & Treatment

Panic Attack

PANIC ATTACKS OR PANIC DISORDER

A panic attack is rush of intense fear or discomfort during which you experience a number of physical sensations. These feelings may come “out of the blue”, for no apparent reason or they might be associated with a stressful situation. A panic attack can occur at anytime during the day and for some people it can occur during sleep. The rush of fear and discomfort reaches it’s peak level very quickly, typically within minutes, where as for other people it develops over a period of time and the physical sensations take longer to subside.

Commonly experienced physical sensations during a panic attack include:

  • Palpitations or racing heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling sensation or numbness
  • Chills or hot flushes
  • Feeling of unreality
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying

If you are having panic attacks you may be experiencing a sense of imminent danger, a sense of impending doom or an urge to escape during a panic attack. When a panic attack occurs out of the blue people often develop a fear of having additional attacks.

Panic Disorder

People with panic disorder often experience unexpected and recurrent panic attacks. They find the panic attacks to be extremely fearful and often worry about having additional panic attacks. Also, they worry about the possible consequences of the panic attacks, such as “fear of dying”, “losing control”, “going crazy”, or “fainting”. The panic attacks can also lead people to change their behaviour to feel “safer” or in an effort to prevent future attacks. For example:

  • Avoiding activities (e.g., exercise)
  • Carrying certain items to feel “safe” (e.g., medications, water, cell phone)
  • Avoiding caffeine or alcohol
  • Sitting near exits (e.g., in movie theatres, restaurants or in public transportation)
  • Checking your heart rate or other physical sensations frequently
  • Avoiding leaving the house alone or going to certain places alone

For some individuals’ avoidances can create significant distress and interference in their daily activities, work, travel , school, family and social relations.

Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia

Some individuals may begin to avoid certain situations or places during which they feel they might not be able to escape or help might not be available in the event of a panic attack or panic like symptoms.

Commonly avoided places or situations, such as:

  • Being home alone
  • Leaving the house alone
  • Crowds
  • Enclosed places (e.g., elevators, small rooms)
  • Riding in cars
  • Taking public transportation
  • Open spaces (e.g., parks or parking lots)

Its important to note that for some individuals, agoraphobia can also occur in the absence of ever experiencing a full blown panic attack.

Treatment for Panic Disorder

Research based psychological interventions such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) have been found to be an effective form of treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia). Dr. Ahmed’s approach to psychological interventions is grounded in scientific-based approaches such a CBT, and she often integrates elements from other therapeutic modalities, such as mindfulness, motivational interviewing, schema focused therapy and client focused therapy based on her clients’ needs and preferences. She provides her clients with services that are customized based on the goals they are hoping to achieve. The sessions will provide you with the skills and strategies to manage your anxious thoughts, not be fearful of your physical sensations and begin to participate in activities and situations that you may be avoiding.

Taking the first step towards seeking help for your anxiety can be challenging. In particular, speaking to a psychologist may seem daunting but rest assured Dr. Ahmed provides a supportive, collaborative, and non-judgmental environment so that you can feel comfortable expressing your concerns. Participating in psychological services can help you learn how to overcome your panic attacks and begin to enjoy your life instead of worrying about it.

Contact Dr. Ahmed for a consultation and inquire further about the process.

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Commonly Addressed issues

  • Anxiety
    • Agoraphobia
    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    • Health Anxiety/ Hypochondrisis
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    • Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder
    • Phobias
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Social Anxiety or Social Phobia
  • Assertiveness Issues
  • Depression
    • Dysthymia
    • Major Depressive Disorder
    • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Emotional Eating & Weight Management
  • Grief And Loss
  • Habit Disorders
  • Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania)
  • Insomnia
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Relationship Difficulties
  • Self-Esteem Concerns
  • Skin Picking
  • Stress Management
  • Test Anxiety
  • Worry

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