Many of the clients that I have treated often suffer from panic attacks alongside anxiety. These feelings can come on so quickly, sometimes with no warning and are due to rushes of intense anxiety which then cause physical symptoms.
Panic attacks range from hot or cold sweats, feelings of fear, increased heart rate, stomach churning to, in the extreme, feeling like you are having a heart attack.
Panic attacks usually first occur when our anxiety levels are raised to the extreme and we have no capacity left for coping and our bodies go into the flight, fight or freeze response. These levels of anxiety can rise gradually over time, so the panic attack often seems to come from nowhere.
Once a panic attack has occurred, unless the overall anxiety levels are reduced, they can be triggered again by any of the senses, sight, sound, smell or touch when the brain associates that stimulus with the first panic attack, and it can be very frightening. For example, going to the supermarket or a crowded shopping centre. As the condition worsens, it can result in a person becoming agoraphobic.
Common symptoms of panic attack
A racing heart (one of the most common symptoms)
- Tight chest or pains in your chest
- Sweating – palms of your hands and back of your neck
- Jelly legs
- A whoosh of warmth rushing up through your body
- Shortness of breath
- Ringing in your ears
- Tingling through your body
If you have 2 or more of these symptoms it is likely that you are having a panic attack. So many clients that I have seen have felt so unwell and have ended up at hospital thinking that they are having a heart attack. These symptoms really can be debilitating and take over your life if you let them.
What Causes Panic Attacks?
The awful physical symptoms that can come on are a result of your body going into fight or flight mode. This is where the body gets prepared to deal with a threatening situation and causes these awful feelings. Whilst this is happening the body releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which is why your heart tends to beat faster than normal. Sometimes there is no reason and no warning signs that one may trigger, which can be so frustrating for the sufferer. I have found throughout the years practising that many clients can develop a fear of having panic attacks which can unfortunately cause them to occur.
If you become a frequent sufferer of panic attacks, it is likely that you may have a panic disorder. These are a combination of physical and psychological factors. Sometimes a really traumatic event such as a bereavement can trigger these symptoms off.
You can learn to control the panic attacks by consciously thinking rationally and telling yourself it is just a panic attack and it will pass, or breathing into a paper bag or by forcing yourself to think of something which makes you happy such as the children, grandchildren or somewhere you went on holiday and had fun and deliberately distracting yourself from focussing on the panic attack or how you are feeling which will make it worse.
But ultimately, you do not want them to happen at all and hypnotherapy can help you stop the panic attacks altogether, so you don’t have to try and control them anymore. For some clients they stop suddenly just by having an understanding of what is causing them, for others they fade away as the anxiety which led to them in the first place reduces.
Please contact me today to find out how I can help with this debilitating problem