Panic is a complex and often overwhelming emotion. At its worst, panic can leave us feeling helpless, trapped in a cycle of fear and anxiety that seems impossible to escape. It can rob us of our peace of mind, making even the simplest tasks feel like impossible challenges. However, there is also a beneficial side to panic that is often overlooked.
When we feel panic, we are reminded of our humanity, vulnerability, and capacity for deep feeling. We are reminded of the preciousness of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. Panic can be a catalyst for change, a call to action that inspires us to take control of our lives and confront our fears. In this way, panic can be a powerful force for growth and transformation, leading us towards a more authentic and fulfilling life.
Panic can be a debilitating condition that can affect a person’s daily life and well-being. Understanding what causes panic and how to manage it can help individuals live more fulfilling lives.
At Leone Centre, we offer therapy and support to help individuals with panic and related conditions. Our experienced therapists can work with you to explore the root causes of your panic and provide you with the tools to manage it. With a compassionate and personalised approach, we strive to empower our clients to lead more fulfilling and anxiety-free lives.
What is a panic attack?
Panic attacks are intense feelings of fear and anxiety that come on suddenly and can be overwhelming and debilitating. Panic attacks can cause physical symptoms, including heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can be distressing and frightening, and people who experience them may feel like they are losing control. However, it is essential to know that panic attacks are treatable, and integrative therapy can be a preferred approach to managing panic attacks.
How Panic Manifests:
- Physical symptoms include racing heartbeat, chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, and trembling.
- A sense of danger or negative thoughts, often accompanied by intense fear and anxiety.
- Feeling detached from reality or a sense of unreality.
- The sensation of choking or difficulty breathing.
- Fear of losing control.
- Numbness or tingling sensations.
- Avoidance behaviours: Avoiding situations or places associated with previous panic attacks or where an attack might occur.
- Hypervigilance: A heightened state of awareness, constantly scanning the environment for signs of danger or potential triggers.
- Physical tension: Panic can lead to muscle tension and headaches.
- Behavioural changes: Panic can lead to changes in behaviour, such as decreased social interaction, decreased performance at work or school, or increased substance use.
How Counselling Can Help with Panic Attacks
Counselling can be an effective tool in managing panic attacks. A counsellor can work with the individual to identify underlying triggers for panic attacks and develop ways to manage anxiety symptoms. Counselling can also help the individual develop healthy thought patterns, reducing anxiety and preventing panic attacks.
Lifestyle changes that can reduce the likelihood of panic include:
- Regular exercise, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety
- A healthy diet and adequate sleep
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol, which can increase the risk of panic attacks.
- Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga
- Relaxation techniques, including deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation
- Being aware of physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate or shortness of breath
- Being aware of changes in mood or behaviour, such as feeling more anxious or avoiding certain situations
- Keeping a journal to track your emotions and any triggers for panic attacks.
- Seeking support from your GP, a therapist, or a support group.
Integrative Therapy Approach
Integrative therapy is an approach that combines different therapeutic approaches to create a treatment specific to the individual’s needs. It is a holistic approach that considers a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Integrative therapy can effectively manage panic attacks as it offers a wider range of methods that can be used for an individual’s unique needs.
Integrative therapy can be multidisciplinary and combine the expertise of multiple professionals from different fields to achieve the best outcome for the individual. Therapy can be utilised alongside support groups and treatment plans provided by a GP.
What is Integrative Therapy? Integrative therapy acknowledges that no single therapy model works for everyone and therefore seeks to integrate different approaches from multiple modalities to create a plan for each individual. Integrative therapy draws from various approaches, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy. Integrative therapy addresses the underlying emotional, cognitive, and behavioural factors that contribute to a person’s difficulties and provides a holistic approach to healing. The result is a flexible, person-centred therapy approach that meets the unique needs of each individual.