What are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks are extremely frightening and they seem to come out of the blue. They are periods of intense fear, apprehension or anxiety.
The effects of an attack vary. Many people who experience a panic attack fear they are having a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Sufferers of panic attacks often report:
• a fear of dying or of “going crazy” or of losing control of themselves
• heart racing, palpitations
• feeling faint, dizzy, unsteady
• feeling sick,
• a numb sensation throughout their body
• heavy breathing, hyperventilation
• losing control of themselves
• unreal, distant feeling
These feelings may provoke a strong urge to flee the place where the attack began.
Panic attacks are distinguished from other forms of anxiety because of their intensity and their sudden, episodic nature. The number of panic attacks that someone has will vary depending on the severity of his or her condition. Some people may have one or two attacks each month, whilst others may have several attacks a week.
CBT and EMDR for Panic Attacks
My GP said I was having panic attacks. This was a surprise because I thought there was something wrong with my circulation or I was having mini-strokes. I was experiencing symptoms such as heart palpitations, numbness, tingling, dizziness, feeling short of breath, nausea, wobbly legs and feeling disconnected from my body.
To my surprise and relief, CBT and EMDR have helped with my panic attacks. They have now disappeared.
The EMDR processed old memories enabling me to let go of a lot of the anger I had from my past, which was impacting onto my daily life. I had not known how to process this anger effectively before without getting overwhelmed by it. Before doing EMDR I used to shut down when I tried to deal with my past issues. To my amazement and delight, the treatment significantly reduced the number of panic attacks I had and their strength. However, very occasionally I felt the start of a panic attack building up, the CBT part of the therapy trained me to control my panic.
I now live free of panic attacks.
(Female aged 33)