Panic Attacks & Phobias

A panic attack is a period of incredibly intense distress or fear and a sense of being ‘crazy’, ‘out of control’, or ‘feeling like you are dying.’ Panic attacks are extremely frightening. They appear to suddenly come from nowhere causing people to feel completely powerless and overwhelmed. Whilst fear is a normal response to many situations a panic attack is different because the emotion and physical symptoms are felt so acutely they often feel paralysing.Panic attacks can often have a significant impact on an individual’s life as the individual often seeks to avoid situations they fear may induce the panic.

Symptoms of panic attacks include:
• Rapid breathing or a feeling of being unable to breath
• Rapid heart beat
• Chest pains
• Feeling faint or dizzy
• Sweating
• Feeling nauseous
• Wanting to go to the toilet
• Feeling of absolute terror.

Associated with the physical symptoms in a panic attack are thoughts as to what it all means, for example ‘I am going to faint’, ‘I can’t breath’, ‘my chest is hurting I think I am having an heart attack’. Whilst a panic attack can feel very debilitating they are not dangerous to your physical health. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effecting in treating the symptoms associated with panic attacks and reducing the impact they have on an individual’s life.

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