Ironically, searching for treatments for panic attacks can almost be enough to bring on another attack. It's difficult to know where to turn and what steps to take for an effective treatment.
Before learning about treatments for panic attacks, it's important to first understand what constitutes an attack, as opposed to just feeling a little anxious. The symptoms can be exceedingly frightening.
- Heart palpitations
- Numbness or tingling
- Hot flashes
- Cold flashes
- Chest pains
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling of impending doom
- Abdominal pain that comes on suddenly and is accompanied by other symptoms
- Difficulty swallowing/ feeling as if you will choke
- Headache accompanied by other symptoms
Panic disorders and panic attacks affect a great number of people here in the United States and the world. It not only involves the mind but also the body.
People in the throes of an attack often think they are dying. Since many of the symptoms mimic those of a heart attack, it is a good idea to have a thorough physical to rule out any other possible causes before proceeding with panic attack treatment.
Treatments for these attacks will depend on the severity and frequency of the attacks. They can either strike out of the blue, or you may be aware of certain scenarios that tend to trigger them.
If you experience attacks with any degree of regularity, keep a journal to document what may be triggering them. This will be beneficial in helping you to determine the particular type of treatment to be used.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is widely viewed as one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
CBT consists of:
- Learning to identify symptoms
- Keeping a record of anxiety producing situations
- Learning relaxation techniques
- Learning to change your response
- Deliberate exposure to anxiety producing situations
Medications as a Treatment for Panic Attacks
Other possible treatments for these disorders include medications. These are exceedingly helpful for some people, but should only be used in severe cases.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are also being used as effective treatments.
The most common class of anti-anxiety medications prescribed for the treatments of these attacks are Benzodiazepines, also known as tranquilizers. They include Valium, Klonopin and Xanax.
It is important to note that there are side effects associated with both antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. They should only be used as treatments for panic attacks in more severe cases. Also, the are most effective when used in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.