A panic attack is an abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes.
What are the symptoms of a panic attack?
> Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
> Trembling or shaking
> Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
> Feelings of choking
> Chest pain or discomfort
> Nausea or abdominal distress
> Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
> Chills or heat sensations
> Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
> Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
> Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
> Fear of dying
What should I know about reoccurring panic attack symptoms?
Individuals can experience one panic attack, or recurrent panic attacks are known as experiencing a panic disorder. A panic disorder can be characterised by recurrent unexpected panic attacks, persistent worry about additional panic attacks and significant change in behavioural such as avoidance of people or places. Basically, panic disorder is the term used to describe when panic attacks are recurrent and disabling.
For panic disorder, persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences occurs such as losing control, having a heart attack, “going crazy”.
What are common behaviours changes that may occur due to reoccurring panic attack symptoms?
Individuals with reoccurring panic symptoms or panic disorder will experience significant changes in behavior related to the panic attacks, including behaviours designed to avoid having future panic attacks. This may include avoidance of exercise as it increased heart rate and rapid breathing or unfamiliar situations.
What else can panic attack symptoms be attributed to?
Our psychologists will discuss this in session with you should you be suffering from ongoing panic symptoms. We need to rule out the disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance use such as drugs or medication, as well as another medical conditions such hyperthyroidism or cardiopulmonary disorders. Our psychologists adopt a holistic approach to rule out all other medical factors.
What if my panic attack symptoms only occur in social situations?
Often panic attacks occur in response to feared social situations or in response to circumscribed phobic situations (i.e., spiders or heights), obsessions or reminders of a traumatic event due to threatened harm to self, or separation from attachment figures (e.g., separation anxiety). As such, our psychologists are experienced in evidence-based therapy and techniques to overcome panic symptoms and to rule out other factors.
In short, the disturbance must not be better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., the panic attacks do not occur only in response to feared social situations, as in social anxiety disorder; in response to circumscribed phobic objects or situations, as in specific phobia; in response to obsessions, as in obsessive-compulsive disorder; in response to reminders of traumatic events, as in post-traumatic stress disorder; or in response to separation from attachment figures, as in separation anxiety disorder).
How can Positive Wellbeing Psychology help?
Our Psychologists are experienced in a range of therapies and techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is highly efficacious in alleviating panic symptoms.
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