Panic Attack Counselling & Treatments


What is a panic attack? What are the symptoms?

A panic attack is an unexpected experience where fear and apprehension occurs in the absence of danger, but can give the sensation of perceived danger. They are highly stressful, and can become debilitating, and are usually described as the person feeling a range of symptoms including sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, trembling, choking sensations and even feelings of impending death.

Clearly, panic attacks can be extremely problematic for those who suffer from them, and in fact for their families and work colleagues too who wish to help the sufferer.

How do people develop a Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder usually begins during late adolescence or early adulthood, is twice as common in women as in men, and can run in families. Not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. Some people have a single attack and never have another. If you do have panic disorder it’s important to seek treatment. If not treated the disorder can become very disabling. Some people with panic disorder may go for years without learning that they have a real, treatable mental health disorder. Panic disorder can be accompanied by other serious conditions such as anxiety, depression, drug abuse or alcoholism.

People with the disorder may develop a pattern where they avoid the places or situations where panic attacks have occurred. For example, should a panic attack happen while you’re riding in an airplane, you may consequently develop a fear of flying. If you start avoiding flying, that could affect your choice of a job or visits to your family and could restrict your life.

Panic Attacks & Agoraphobia

Sometimes, people will become so afraid of having a panic attack in a public place that they begin avoiding the things that trigger their attacks altogether. For example, a person who fears having a panic attack might avoid leaving their house, which can eventually lead to agoraphobia.

Some people’s lives become so restricted that they avoid normal, everyday activities such as grocery shopping or driving. They avoid any situation in which they would feel helpless if a panic attack were to occur. When people’s lives become restricted in this way the condition is called agoraphobia. One-third of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia. Early treatment of panic disorder can often prevent agoraphobia.

How can we treat panic attacks & panic disorder?

Panic disorder is one of the most treatable of the anxiety disorders, with sufferers responding in most cases to medications or carefully targeted psychotherapy. From our skilled team of clinical psychologists we will be able to match you with a therapist who can talk with you to understand your situation and provide the right treatment to help you face and cope with your anxiety and panic.

Book an appointment

We treat patients from all over Perth at our Clinical Psychology clinics in Dianella and Warwick. To make an appointment simply give us a call or fill out the contact form on our contact page with your details and we’ll call you to confirm.

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