Treating Panic Attacks

A panic attack can be an extremely frightening experience because, during one, people imagine the worst possible things happening to them – they may fear they are dying, suffocating, having a heart attack, or even going crazy. Treating panic attacks is an important process. Although it is true that a panic attack is harmless, but repeated panic attacks may lead to deterioration of the mental condition (which will then percolate down to the physical well-being) if left untreated. Generally, relaxation techniques are used to treat mild panic attacks. But if the attacks are serious then medication is needed.

Methods of Treating Panic Attacks

Medication, relaxation techniques and behavioral therapy are the common ways used in treating panic attacks, with medication being the most popular method. However, before any patient is put on medication, it is important that he / she is evaluated by a mental health professional. Here are, in brief, the various treatments available to deal with panic attacks:

Medications such as sertraline, fluoxetine, paroxetine, or fluvoxamine help relieve anxiety and stress, and are often the first choice of medication administered to a patient. Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam and clonazepam help too. The problem with allopathic medication is that a patient begins depending on it and gets addicted to these medications, sometimes even for life. Also, if this medication is stopped abruptly, then panic attacks may recur. The medication is usually prescribed for 3-6 weeks (once daily), but the doctor is the best person to decide the dosage and the time period.

Relaxation techniques, which a patient can practice at home, are effective too in controlling panic attacks. As these relation techniques are natural in nature, there are no side effects involved. However, the flip-side is that a patient will be in no mood to try out these techniques unless his mind is calmed instantly, which is something only medication can do.
Apart from these, there is also behavioral therapy, which is nothing but psychotherapy and counseling based on the cognitive model of emotional response. The therapist teachers and trains a patient and makes him realize that it is the way he thinks that causes the panic attack. Then the therapist trains the patient to replace this destructive thinking with positive thoughts, which will over a period of time stop the panic attacks.

In Conclusion

Which treatment works for who depends on how mentally prepared and tough a patient is. Treating panic attacks [] is certainly something that has been completed before. But all said and done, most patients prefer to start off on medication for a quick fix and then move on to the relaxation techniques or the behavioral therapy methods of treating panic attacks.