All of a sudden, your chest begins to tighten, breathing is difficult, sweat runs down your neck, the room spins, and you feel like you have been hit by a ton of bricks. When you feel symptoms of this nature it can be extremely frightening and concerning that you may be experiencing a heart attack or a stroke. Yet, it is a very common experience for someone who suffers from panic attacks.
Whether you have experienced anxiety your whole life or you are experiencing it for the first time, panic attacks are surprising, uncomfortable, and difficult to manage on your own. Over time, panic attacks tend to take on a life of their own, often leaving individuals feeling trapped, isolated, and frustrated with their fears.
At Biltmore Psychology & Counseling, our Psychologists help people learn how to manage their anxiety and panic attacks, identify the source of their distress, and overcome these extremely uncomfortable experiences.
How Do I know if I’m having a panic attack?
Prior to diagnosing a panic attack, possible medical causes should first be ruled out. However, when someone’s gotten the clear from their medical doctor, the following signs and symptoms often indicate that someone is having a panic attack. It can begin with a sudden sense of distress, dread, fear and physiological symptoms that reaches a peak within minutes. For some, panic attacks come after a growing sense of anxiety or worry. Yet for others, panic attacks can come on from a state of calm relaxation and may catch a person off guard. At times they may occur when in an anxiety provoking situation and at other times, may happen for no real identifiable reason. While occurring, people usually experience several of the following. palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, feeling like they are choking, chest pain, nausea, feeling dizzy, chills, numbness and tingling throughout their body, detachment, fear of going crazy or having a panic attack, or fear of dying.
When panic attacks happen for no identifiable reason or occur after someone has been calm, people may feel extremely scared that these attacks will happen again. The fear of having another panic attack can take on a life of their own and create a vicious cycle of fear and recurring attacks. Substances that once made a person feel more calm like alcohol and marijuana may begin to exacerbate these symptoms and unknowingly fuel more distress. Other times, panic attacks can arise from a phobic stimulus, further creating fear around that experience.
How are panic attacks treated?
Identifying the underlying cause of the panic attacks are key for their treatment. Addressing a history of trauma or traumatic event can be a first step in treatment. For others, focusing on lifestyle issues that lead to a persistent state of stress can be important for reducing the incidents of panic attacks. Your therapist may help identify any physiological conditions that could be leading to these symptoms and work with your medical provider as you pursue treatment.
Once the underlying cause has been identified and anxiety is reduced, adaptive coping skills that focus on relaxation, anxiety management, and insight building will be a topic of focus.
Meet our Team
Doctorate and Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, Arizona School of Professional Psychology
Practice Areas: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Relationship Counseling, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, Spiritual Integration, Medical Counseling, Immigration Evaluation Services
Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy, Arizona State University
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Practice Areas: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), marriage/relationship therapy, individual therapy, trauma, faith-based counseling, grief and loss, parenting/coparenting issues, depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, work/life stressors
M.S. Marriage and Family Therapy,
Arizona State University
B.S. Family and Human Development,
Arizona State University
Practice Areas: Marriage/relationship therapy, pre-marital counseling, grief and loss, general counseling, anxiety and depression, individual therapy, life changes, work/life stressors
M.S. Counseling and Human Services,
University of Toledo
Bowling Green State University
Practice Areas: Relationship / marriage counseling, pre-marital counseling, parenting, general counseling, anxiety and depression, individual therapy, career decisions, caring for aging relatives, life changes, work/life stressors
We’re here for you.
Our psychologists apply professional expertise and understanding to provide the best holistic counseling services in the Phoenix, AZ.
A 10-min consultation can help you determine whether our services would be the right fit for you. Call us today for a free phone consultation.