What is Panic Disorder and How is it Treated?
Panic Disorder occurs in one out of every 75 people and usually appears during the teens or early adulthood. Many times Panic Attacks can be triggered by a stressful event along with a physiological response. There is a connection with major life transitions which are potentially stressful: such as graduating from college, getting married, having a first child, and so on. There is more risk of it occurring if there is a genetic predisposition; or if a family member has suffered from panic disorder;
or when a person is experiencing a time in his/her life that is particularly stressful.
A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that comes without warning and without any obvious reason. It is far more intense than the feeling of being ‘stressed out’ that most people experience. Symptoms of a panic attack include:
- racing heartbeat
- difficulty breathing, feeling as though you ‘can’t get enough air’
- terror that is almost paralyzing
- dizziness, lightheadedness or nausea
- trembling, sweating, shaking
- choking, chest pains
- hot flashes, or sudden chills
- tingling in fingers or toes (‘pins and needles’)
- fear that you’re going to go crazy or are about to die
Helpful Interventions in Treating Panic Disorder
I recommend the following interventions in treating panic disorder
1. Diagnosis is very important. One study found that people sometimes see 10 or more doctors before being properly diagnosed, and that only one out of four people with the disorder receive the treatment they need. That’s why it’s important to know what the symptoms are, and to make sure you get the right help. You should see a competent professional counselor, your physician to see if there is an physical cause, and/or a psychiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Medication may be necessary when there are underlying physiological problems. Please contact AACC for a referral to a counseling professional in your area.
2. Spiritual intervention. 2 Tim 1:7 reads, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”(NIV)
People with panic attacks are filled with fear. Instead you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God to overcome fear. You can experience this by discovering and growing in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Many people have not made the decision to trust Christ personally or if they are Christians, they have fallen away from Him. When this is the case, the first priority is to understand and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and put Him at the center of your life. He is the author of peace and the overcomer of fear in our lives. Pascal once wrote: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man”. Spiritual emptiness causes depression and anxiety in our lives. We need God and we can experience Him when we know and trust in Jesus Christ. Read the faq on Faith to help you understand how to have a personal relationship with Christ.
Read this article on managing stress through relaxation.
© copyright 2016 Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC