CBT Newtownabbey

Panic Attacks are quite common. For some people, they become so overwhelmed by fear that it causes them to be almost physically sick, and they can barely move because it is so uncomfortable. This is an intensely unpleasant experience, our mind and body simultaneously paralysed with fear and intense dread. Sometimes this panic recurs almost on a daily basis. Sufferers often come to associate these attacks with particular places or activities, and so they try to avoid these places and activities. This often results in severely restricted lifestyles.

In the majority of cases, the cause of recurrent panic attacks is that the person mis-interprets slight changes in their own body’s physiology (internal cues). They then start to concentrate on this; of course concentrating on it causes more anxiety......which causes more changes in their physiology......so they concentrate more on it...... which causes even more anxiety...... And so the anxiety cycle continues upwards until it reaches a point where it is very distressing, and the person has visible symptoms like breathing difficulty / sweating / colour changes etc. This is what we call a Panic Attack. It can come on very quickly, and very often with no obvious cause.

People who experience these attacks truly detest them, because they sometimes come "out of the blue". The attacks are so horrible that sufferers start to DREAD the next one coming, and in the longer term this DREAD impacts upon their mood.

Treatment for panic disorders begins with teaching clients how to quickly de-escalate the anxiety, and interrupt the panic cycle, so that it does not get out of control. After this we help clients look at why THEY notice their changing physiology, and other people do not. By making clients aware of their normal physiology, and exploring whether there could be more reasonable explanations for changes to body functions, we try to normalise their perception of everyday bodily variations. Our treatment finishes when these new explanations are tested in real-life situations, and clients can tolerate mild to moderate levels of stress, without full-blown panic attacks.....