If you have ever been so scared that you have feared for your life, you will know what panic feels like.
You will have experienced an overwhelming sense of dread, your heart would have been thumping and you would have found it hard to catch your breath. In some cases these intense feelings and associated symptoms can occur for no reason and when this happens it is usually called a panic attack.
The rush of symptoms both psychologically and physically are a frightening experience and for those suffering from a panic disorder, it is a common experience.
What is a panic attack?
This happens when your body experiences a sudden set of intense symptoms. These symptoms are both psychological and physiological in their nature. Usually an attack will begin with a sudden feeling of intense fear or panic, this is then followed by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, nausea and sweating. These feelings are understandably over whelming and those who suffer from panic attacks often over breathe (known as hyperventilation). This can head to more unwanted symptoms due to a reduction of carbon dioxide in the blood. A typical panic attack lasts between 5 & 10 minutes, but they can come in waves for up to 2 hours. They tend to end as quickly as they begin and even though it may not feel like it they are not harmful.
When you first experience a panic attack it can be easily confused with breathing problems or a heart attack. You should consult your doctor if you are concerned and they will be able to provide reassurance and advice.
Physical symptoms of a panic attack
Sensations felt will differ from person to person, common symptoms include:-
- Thumping hear or palpitations
- Feeling sick
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dryness and tightness in the throat, difficulty in swallowing
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling detached from reality
Psychological symptoms of a panic attack
- Intense anxiety
- Fear of dying
Causes of panic attacks
The causes are not fully understood. In some cases there is an identifiable trigger, for example, stressful life events – death of a loved one or traumatic experience.
There are often links between panic attacks, phobias, anxiety and depression. It is thought that a combination of factors come into play. Genetics could be a contributory factor. As research shows panic attacks do run in families. Drugs and alcohol can put you more at risk from panic attacks.
The cause can be unknown and panic attacks can just appear from nowhere. If this is the case for you, you may find hypnotherapy particularly useful. Hypnotherapy can help uncover deep seated issues that may be subconsciously causing your panic attacks.
Hypnotherapy for panic attacks
Hypnotherapy lends itself well to treatment of panic attacks. The basis behind this form of therapy is to help the client cope with specific symptoms using the power of suggestion whilst helping them to overcome limiting beliefs that restrict them in their everyday lives.
What will happen in a typical session?
I will begin by helping you relax deeply by inducing a hypnotic trance, you will be fully aware of your surroundings during this deep relaxation (or trance). This will put you in the right place to benefit from hypnosis. I will then ask you to focus on the physical sensations you feel during a panic attack, this will be proceeded by the power of suggestion. I will suggest to you that “you are in control of the attack.” I will also suggest ways of coping, such as slowing your breathing. This will help you feel calm.
Hopefully when you feel your next panic attack coming on, these suggestions that have been placed in your subconscious whilst you were under hypnosis will surface into your conscious mind and help you cope.
I will also teach you some self-hypnosis techniques so that you can continue your treatment at home.