The Key to Overcoming Panic Attacks
It struck you one day completely out of the blue. You remember it vividly. The feeling in your body was like nothing else. You knew something was seriously wrong. You wondered, “am I going crazy?” You feared that you would make a scene and everyone would be judging you.
You thought it would only happen that one time…or in that one situation. But it has come again, in unpredictable places. It feels easier to not go to work…or go to that party…or stay from that store. So you don’t go. If you stay home, then you won’t be trapped. But the anxiety continues.
You fear the return of these physical symptoms. You worry those symptoms will come back EVEN WORSE than they were before. You imagine these symptoms will return when you are at work or in a public situation, like a shopping mall or party.
Underneath it all….you are afraid you will lose control.
All of this leads you to feel alone...even depressed. The confidence you once had is completely gone. You question your ability to handle responsibilities. You turn to alcohol or drugs in a desperate attempt to cope with these feelings.
You wonder if you are crazy. You feel like you are the only that experiences this and nobody understands.
Imagine how different your life would be if you were not overwhelmed with panic and anxiety. What would you be doing again? What would you start doing? What things would you stop doing? Maybe you would be traveling more, working again, have better relationships with your family members. Whatever it is, you need to know that this is possible for you.
Change may feel impossible….and perhaps even terrifying. It takes absolute commitment and a positive mindset, but you can do this! You’re worth it.
So what is the key to overcoming panic attacks?
The key to truly restoring peace from panic is to begin a program of recovery.
Recovery is possible. There is no single step to take that will eliminate panic. The key to recovery is a combination of proven methods. The best treatment approach includes:
1) Get an accurate diagnosis. Many of the physical symptoms of panic can mimic other medical conditions involving your heart, thyroid, blood sugar, etc. Find a doctor you trust and talk with them about your concerns and let them complete different tests.
2) Understand your body’s response system. The fight-flight-freeze response is what causes the physical symptoms of anxiety in your body. It is something we are all born with to protect us from danger. In fact, there is nothing wrong with the physical symptoms your body produces. Your body is just doing it’s job! Knowing this information can be very reassuring to people suffering from anxiety.
2) Improve your thinking skills. What are the beliefs underlying your fears? What thoughts and feelings trigger your anxiety? Do you actively practice changing your irrational thoughts?
3) Consider medication. There are medications that can be helpful in the treatment of anxiety. This is a choice every individual needs to make with the help of a professional. It is not recommended to use medication as the only way to treatment anxiety. It should be used in combination with the other treatments listed here.
4) Get support. Having panic attacks can make you feel alone or like you are going crazy. It is important to be around other people who can provide you with support and understanding. It can be very assuring to know you are not alone. Find a support group online or in-person.
5) Develop relaxation skills. You are likely suffering from muscle tension and fatigue as a result of the physical symptoms of anxiety. It is important to have relaxation strategies like controlled breathing or meditation help you feel more in control of your symptoms and be able to feel relaxed.
6) Move towards fear. You have likely been avoiding situations where anxiety and panic show up. This can reduce your symptoms in the short-run. But it actually strengthens anxiety and makes it worse (I’m guessing you already knew this!) Set small goals to start facing your fears. As you do this, you will start to prove to yourself that you can handle this!
7) Work with a Therapist that uses Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (also known as CBT). This is considered the ‘gold standard’ in treatment of anxiety disorders. A Therapist that is trained in this approach will treat anxiety using the steps outlined above.
If you are ready to start your program for recovery, call today to schedule an appointment.