Treatment For Panic Attack and Disorder
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally seen as the one of the most effective form of treatment for panic attack, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and most behaviors that are sustaining or triggering the panic attacks. It enables you look at your fears in a more realistic light.
If you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn and accept that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying and manageable. Panic attack alone by itself is never dangerous.
Exposure therapy for panic attack and panic disorder
In exposure therapy for panic disorder, patients are exposed to the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving them the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping and adapting. They may be asked to hyperventilate, shake their heads from side to side, or hold their breath. These different drills cause sensations similar to the symptoms of panic. With each exposure, they become less afraid of these internal bodily sensations and feel a greater sense of control over their panic. Eventually panic won't control them, they will control panic to manageable levels.
Defining agoraphobia can be a bit confusing. It used to be held by many, that the definition of agoraphobia was a fear of wide-open spaces. Indeed, most current dictionaries still carry this meaning. Possibly, this is due to the word being derived from the Greek words "agora", meaning marketplace or meeting place and "phobos", meaning fear. So, the literal meaning would be "fear of the marketplace or meeting place". However, the more up to date definition is along the lines of: A fear of losing emotional or physical control, following a panic/anxiety attack, in a place or situation where a return to the sufferer's safe zone may be difficult, embarrassing or, indeed, impossible.
If you have agoraphobia, exposure to the situations you fear and avoid is also included in the treatments. As in exposure therapy for specific phobias, you will face the feared situations until the panic begins to go away. Through this experience, you learn that the situation isn't harmful and that you have control over your emotions. This treatment for panic attacks will control and eventually remove the fear entirely.