Panic Disorder Treatment in Wylie, TX
Pathway Psychiatry provides comprehensive psychiatric care and counseling for adults at our psychiatric clinic in Wylie, TX. We take care to offer personalized treatment plans for individuals with conditions such as panic disorder. Call today to schedule an appointment!
What is Panic Disorder?
If you have a panic attack, that does not necessarily mean you have a panic disorder.
A panic disorder is considered if:
- you have frequent, unexpected panic attacks
- there is an excessive worry for a month or longer about another attack and debilitating fear
- the attacks are not connected with another mental health condition or substance use
These criteria are determined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
If you have occasional panic attacks but not a diagnosed panic disorder, you can still benefit from treatment. If your panic attacks aren’t treated, they can get worse and may develop into panic disorder or phobias.
What are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack?
Panic attacks are characterized by a sudden and intense onset of physical and psychological symptoms, which typically peak within a few minutes and can include:
- Rapid Heartbeat: A pounding or racing heart (palpitations).
- Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, often accompanied by a feeling of choking.
- Chest Pain: A sharp or tight chest pain or discomfort.
- Trembling or Shaking: Uncontrollable shaking or trembling of the body.
- Sweating: Profuse sweating, often accompanied by cold or hot flashes.
- Feeling of Unreality: A sense of detachment or feeling “out of touch” with reality.
- Fear of Losing Control: Overwhelming fear of losing control or going crazy.
- Fear of Dying: A strong belief that one is about to die.
- Nausea or Upset Stomach: Feeling nauseous or experiencing gastrointestinal distress.
- Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Feeling dizzy, unsteady, or faint.
- Numbness or Tingling: A sensation of pins and needles in the extremities.
- Chills or Hot Flashes: Sudden temperature changes.
It’s important to note that panic attacks can vary in intensity and duration, and not everyone will experience all of these symptoms during an episode. When individuals have recurrent panic attacks and develop persistent worry about experiencing them, it may be indicative of Panic Disorder. If you or someone you know is experiencing panic attacks, seeking professional help is advisable to determine the underlying causes and explore treatment options.
What are the Benefits of Panic Disorder Treatment?
Panic disorder treatment can be beneficial for those who want to improve functioning in everyday life. Getting help can reduce the intensity and frequency of panic attacks, enhance coping skills, prevent agoraphobia (fear of situations or places where panic might occur), and provide long term relief from symptoms.
Treatment for panic disorders may include:
Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy
Therapy is a highly effective and commonly recommended treatment for Panic Disorder. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often the primary approach used to address the condition. In CBT for Panic Disorder, individuals work with a trained therapist to identify and challenge the thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their panic attacks. This form of therapy aims to help individuals gain a better understanding of their anxiety, panic triggers, and the cycle of fear associated with panic attacks.
CBT for Panic Disorder typically includes several key components, such as psychoeducation about the condition, exposure therapy to gradually confront fears, cognitive restructuring to reframe irrational thoughts, and relaxation techniques to manage physical symptoms of panic. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to keep a panic diary to track their experiences and identify patterns.
Some people find medications help to manage panic disorders. Often, panic attacks can be triggered by depression or anxiety, so certain medications may prove helpful to manage symptoms.
Medication treatment for Panic Disorder typically involves the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or benzodiazepines. SSRIs and SNRIs, such as sertraline and venlafaxine, work to increase the availability of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which can help reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks over time.
Benzodiazepines, like lorazepam and clonazepam, are fast-acting medications that can provide immediate relief during a panic attack but are generally prescribed for short-term use due to the risk of dependence and tolerance. Medication treatment is often considered when panic attacks are severe, frequent, or significantly impair an individual’s daily functioning.
The choice of medication and dosage is determined on an individual basis, taking into account the patient’s specific symptoms and needs. It is typically used in conjunction with therapy, as the combination of medication and therapy can offer the most comprehensive approach to managing Panic Disorder. Regular monitoring by a healthcare provider is essential to assess the medication’s effectiveness and manage any potential side effects.
Resources for those with Panic Disorder
- The Panic Center: This online resource offers information about panic disorder, treatment options, and coping strategies. It also provides a self-assessment tool to help individuals evaluate their symptoms.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): The ADAA offers a wealth of information on panic disorder, including articles, self-help resources, and a directory to help individuals find mental health professionals with expertise in treating anxiety disorders.
- “The Panic Attack Workbook: A Workbook of Strategies for Breaking the Cycle of Panic Attacks” by David A. Carbonell: This workbook offers practical strategies, exercises, and guidance to help individuals understand and effectively manage panic attacks.
- “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne: This comprehensive workbook covers various anxiety-related disorders, including panic disorder, providing self-help techniques and exercises for managing anxiety.
Schedule an Appointment for Panic Disorder Treatment in Wylie, TX
Pathway Psychiatry can help you find the right combination of psychotherapy and/or medical treatment to help eliminate or reduce your panic attacks. Call (214) 997-4459 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gardner today!