A panic attack is a sudden and intense episode of overwhelming fear or anxiety that can occur without warning. A panic attack can be a one-time occurrence or part of a recurring pattern known as a panic disorder. Panic attacks usually reach their peak intensity within a few minutes and typically last for a relatively short period, often around 10-20 minutes. Panic attacks can be extremely distressing and may lead individuals to worry about future panic attacks or avoid situations or places where they fear an attack might occur. With the guidance of professional psychological support, individuals can acquire valuable strategies to effectively manage and overcome panic attacks. If you’re in search of support to address panic-related challenges, you’ve found the right place.
What are the common signs and symptoms of a panic attack?
What is panic disorder?
A panic disorder is characterised by frequent, unexpected panic attacks, ongoing worry about experiencing more attacks, and significant changes in behaviour including avoiding specific situations or places. Specifically, panic disorder occurs when panic attacks become recurrent and disabling, often accompanied by persistent concerns about future episodes of panic and their potential consequences, such as loss of control, heart attacks, or fear of losing one’s sanity.
What can cause a panic attack or panic disorder?
Panic attacks or panic disorders typically don’t have one single cause. It’s widely accepted among experts that multiple factors may play a role, however for for anticipated anxiety or panic attacks it can be caused by exposure to an object or situation an individual feels anxious about. Some other factors that contribute to a panic disorder include the following:
Family history: Research suggests a genetic component in panic disorder, with individuals often having a family history of anxiety or mood disorders.
Biological factors: Some medical conditions have been associated with panic disorder.
Environmental factors: Traumatic experiences, such as abuse or bereavement, can contribute to the development of panic disorder. Prolonged periods of extreme stress may also be a contributing factor.
At Positive Wellbeing Psychology, our experienced Melbourne psychologists have a special interest in managing anxiety management and guiding individuals through life’s challenges using evidence-based therapies and strategies such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
Our psychologists tailor therapy to meet each individual’s unique needs, facilitating a deeper understanding of the intricate factors that perpetuate the cycle of panic and anxiety, helping individuals regain control over their thoughts and emotions.
At Positive Wellbeing Psychology, we offer flexible appointments with our psychologists during the day, evening, or weekends, both in-person at our Melbourne psychology practice or online via telehealth.
Our team of psychologists hold full registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and adhere to ethical guidelines as mandated by the Psychologists Registration Board and Australian Psychological Society. Our clinical practice is grounded in evidence-based treatment approaches, to support individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety including panic attacks.