Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks

By Clare Smart, LifeWorks Counsellor

panic attacks
Panic Attacks

What is a Panic attack?

A panic attack is when a person feels overwhelmed by the physical and mental feelings of fear. They are extremely frightening and make a person feel powerless, out of control and as if they are about to die or go mad.

Panic attacks can strike anyone at anytime. They may start out in response to a distressing or scary situation but can also occur unexpectedly and in any situation. Panic attacks often get more frequent and more intense if left untreated as people begin to fear another panic attack happening and when it does, this reinforces that they are out of control.

A person may describe a panic attack as feeling like they are "going crazy" or "having a heart attack." Many people experience panic attacks and for some people it can affect how they live. They might avoid certain situations or people and may even isolate themselves completely due to the fear of having a panic attack in public.

Panic is similar to other anxious feelings but it is more intense and short lived.

The symptoms listed usually peak in around 10 minutes and a panic attack lasts around 5-20minutes.

  • Heart palpitations
  • Pain in chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Flushing
  • Nausea
  • Fear of impending doom/medical emergency
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Many people experience panic attacks but many of these people successfully learn how to cope with them and to eventually overcome them.

    How can Panic attacks be treated?

    Feelings of anxiety and panic are maintained by fears about the feelings. Treatment involves education about anxiety and panic and the effects of avoidance and safety behaviours on maintaining the feelings.

    Although panic attacks are frightening, it is important to remember that the physical symptoms are harmless. Treatment includes learning about relaxation and breathing techniques as well as identifying and reducing any stressors to the symptoms experienced.

    Medication, usually antidepressants and anti anxiety medications are sometimes indicated although it has been found that talking treatments (counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy) have longer lasting outcomes than medication alone.

    How can Counselling help with Panic attacks?

    Counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps a person to learn what is causing the panic attacks and to develop ways of coping. The counsellor will help the person to identify and change negative thoughts that feed the panic attacks whilst also addressing the safety behaviours that a person might have.

    If you are experiencing panic attacks it is important to seek treatment as they are likely to get more frequent or more intense if left untreated.

    Call Clare at LifeWorks to make an appointment to talk about the distressing symptoms that you are experiencing and to move forwards to living a life that is free of panic attacks.

    Clare Smart - Counsellor


    Clare Smart LifeWorks

    For all bookings and to contact Clare :

    Contact Clare

    PH: 055 8817069
    or email directly to :

    I promise to reply quickly

    From Panic Attacks back to Articles

    Ph 04 3942464
    996 Al Wasl Road,
    Umm Sequeim 1
    PO Box 74678

    [?] Subscribe To
    This Site


    Template Design
    LifeWorks Counselling, Parenting Education, Self Awareness Workshops -   Counselling    Copyright© 2007-2011