Panic disorder is considered a psychiatric disorder that creates sudden moments of panic and fear without a reasonable cause. This disorder may affect you throughout daily life, causing a quick onset of overwhelming terror, and is also referred to as panic attack disorder.
Panic disorder can affect your life at any time, whether you are simply grocery shopping, driving your car, or even in your sleep. You may feel afraid to leave your house for fear of being judged, or you may feel nauseous at the thought of trying something new. The onset of a panic attack is likely a constant worry in your life.
If you’re experiencing chronic panic disorder symptoms including sudden shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, trembling, losing control of your emotions and thoughts, cold chills, clammy hands, and muscle tenseness that feels paralyzing, we have methods to help.
What is the most effective treatment for panic disorder?
First of all, when you sense a panic attack is about to strike, follow these steps to take back control.
1. Stop and take three slow, deep breaths. Breathing quickly and from your upper chest triggers an adrenaline response when you instead need to breathe diaphragmatically.
2. Do not leave the area unless you are in real danger. To break your panic attack, you should stay and overcome your initial adrenaline reaction, showing yourself there is no reason to “fight or flight.”
3. Break your tunnel vision. When your fear sets in, you will quickly have tunnel vision and this will cause you to feel trapped. By looking slowly from side to side, you become aware of your surroundings and can begin reasoning that there is no danger.
4. Think of warming images and warm your hands. A visual cue can very strongly bring your focus off of any anxious thoughts you may have, so consider looking at pictures on your phone. Running your hands under warm water offers an immediate relaxation response.
5. Speak out loud in complete sentences. This will prevent you from hyperventilating and initially you will speak with short, blunt words, but as you gain control, you will also be able to express your emotions accurately.
Here at Amen Clinics, we often talk about an acronym called ANTs, which stands for “automatic negative thoughts.” These thoughts may creep into your life at any moment, and strongly influence you when a panic attack strikes.
For each thought that comes to your mind, your body releases chemicals in response. This is true for both positive and negative thoughts. These thoughts are in your control, and you can learn to recognize them so that you define these negative thoughts — such as predicting the worst, reading people’s minds, feeling overly guilty, blaming others and labeling yourself — as untrue. We highly recommend writing these thoughts down so that you can objectively address them.
If you find ANTs are ruining your life and the panic attacks never seem to go away, Dr. Daniel Amen is considered a maverick in his field by reviewing brain scans to help treat psychological disorders. While most psychiatrists address symptoms, Amen Clinics seeks instead to find the root cause of your problem.
When enrolling with our clinic to treat your anxiety or depression, we first assess you by taking the following steps:
● We will begin by taking the time to explore your specific biological, psychological, social and spiritual influences.
● Next, we will perform neuropsychological tests to measure various aspects of your brain function.
● Then, we will perform two brain SPECT scans: one at rest and one during concentration
● Finally, we will order lab tests to rule out nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances, toxicity, etc.—if deemed necessary
Can a panic disorder be cured?
At Amen Clinics, we are trained in treating people who suffer from chronic anxiety and depression. If you feel you have nowhere left to turn, we believe there is always hope to relieve your symptoms.
Treatment will vary depending on your assessment. Two treatment methods that might be of interest to you include Hypnotherapy and Music Therapy.
Our staff at Amen Clinics are experienced in these fields to help you reach a state of relaxation without prescription medication. We can help guide you to reaching this state throughout moments of your day.
Find a Clinic to Treat Your Panic Disorder
We have eight locations across the country in cities including Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. We also have locations in Orange County, CA, in Northern
California, and in Bellevue, WA.
For more on how to cope with anxiety and depression, watch the following video where Dr. Amen and his wife, Tana Amen, discuss how to manage life with these disorders, including advice on breaking through your panic attacks.