Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety is a response to a perceived threat. Throughout evolution anxiety and the consequent stress response has enabled us to react to threatening situations; to either ‘fight or flight’, enabling us to survive. We still need to be able to react to stressful events such as running to help at the scene of an accident or responding appropriately in a heated debate. Many people experience feelings of anxiety before important events such as taking a driving test or giving a presentation.

However, anxiety disorders are conditions that cause people to feel frightened, distressed, and apprehensive for no obvious reason. These disorders can significantly diminish an individual's quality of life.

There are a number of specific anxiety disorders including the following Panic attacks are episodes of penetrating fear that strike repeatedly, with little or no warning. Physical symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Fear that the person is having a heart attack
  • Fear of dying
  • Difficulty breathing, feeling as though you cannot get enough oxygen
  • Terror that is almost paralysing
  • Trembling, sweating, shaking
  • Choking,
  • Hot flushes, or sudden chills
  • Tingling in fingers or toes ‘pins and needles’

They can often intensify until the sufferer develops a fear of the panic attack, which results in avoidance of situations where attacks are more likely to occur. This may eventually lead to conditions such as agoraphobia.

We do not know exactly why the body's natural warning system is triggered when there is no real danger. Physical illness or major stress, such as relationship problems can trigger initial attacks, as can work issues, being a victim of crime, a road traffic accident or any number of other events experienced as stressful by the individual. The causes may involve an interaction between psychological and physical events. When stress is severe, as perhaps after the loss of a job or a death in the family, it may stimulate the part of the brain that controls the fear response. Several very stressful events happening within a short period of time can also initiate panic attacks. Panic attacks can accompany other types of anxiety disorders.

Anyone suffering a suspected panic attack should always seek medical advice, as a number of medical problems may mimic a panic attack. Once panic disorder has been diagnosed, medication may be prescribed. This is often an antidepressant or beta-blocker. However, learning coping mechanisms is the most effective method of long term control of the condition.

General Anxiety Disorder is a condition in which the sufferer constantly feels in a state of high anxiety. This is not a result of any specific trigger as individuals with this condition feel that they are on edge all of the time for no specific reason. There may be physical symptoms, such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be experienced in two distinctive ways, firstly as feeling obsessive, obtrusive, repetitive, unwanted thoughts that result in irrational fears, and secondly as compulsions, acts or rituals carried out in response to the fears created by obsessions. A common OCD condition is that of compulsive hand washing in response to an irrational fear of contagion. Sufferers of this disorder feel less anxious once they have carried out the compulsion. Some people only experience obsessive thoughts without the desire to carry out a compulsion. Examples of compulsions include excessive cleaning, counting, checking, measuring, and repeating tasks or actions. Examples of obsessions include worrying excessively about germs, illness or death or perhaps having undesirable sexual thoughts or fearing causing harm to others.

Other conditions such as Trichotillomania or compulsive hair pulling can also be treated in the same manner as an OCD.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop following exposure to a traumatic event. The event may be witnessed or even heard about as well as experienced directly. Sufferers may experience flashbacks, panic attacks Nightmares, numbing of emotions, depression and anger.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder involves an irrational preoccupation with a perceived body defect, which may be present in the individual or in others. Sufferers cannot accept that the fear of their perceived body defect is out of all proportion, and some seek plastic surgery or other physical measures in an attempt to correct the perceived problem.

Isis solutions

We will provide you with a comprehensive assessment so that the more appropriate therapy or therapies will be offered to you, in order to free you from anxiety and panic.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is recognised as one of the most effective forms of treatment for panic disorder and anxiety. We assess the way that you react when you have a panic attack including what you think about when you are experiencing an attack. Once any negative thoughts and underlying inappropriate beliefs have been identified, we will help you to start to change them into more representative, positive beliefs.

Breathing Techniques will be taught to help you to take control of your physical situation both during and after an occurrence of panic or anxiety. As you begin to learn to recognise the beginning of an occurrence, you will be able to use breathing techniques to help stop it beginning.

Hypnotherapy is also helpful in treating sufferers of panic disorder and anxiety. Sometimes, hypnotic regression may be used. Whilst in trance, the subconscious mind is used to find the original cause for the disorder. There are a variety of relaxation techniques which can also be utilised to manage anxiety and panic.

Anchoring is a particularly helpful technique for controlling panic and anxiety. It is an NLP technique which can be taught both in and out of trance and has proved to be a particularly effective treatment for panic disorder and panic attacks.

Emotional Freedom Technique may also be taught to address panic and anxiety.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing may also be used in your treatment programme for example to treat distressing memories. Panic attacks with a known cause may respond especially well to this treatment.

Fuller information relating to each of these techniques can be accessed on the website Therapies.

Address: 3, St Anne's View, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 3QQ
Telephone: 07852 117030