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Panic Disorder Treatments

Updated on August 6, 2009

Panic Disorder Treatments: Why Panic Disorder Sucks

Panic disorder is a beastly thing, and it can definitely get in the way of you living a functional life. Anyone who has ever dealt with panic attacks will tell you that they are no fun, and the type of emotional and even physical strain that they place on you can be really discouraging. Panic attacks, anxiety-based attacks, or panic disorders, however you want to name them, basically boil down to a strong feeling of fear, or a sudden rush of confusion combined with fear. Panic attacks can seemingly come out of nowhere, and a lot of times it can be difficult to identify the “triggers” or the particular type of scenario or situation that can bring these attacks on. Common symptoms that can occur during panic attacks (or anxiety attacks) are a heightened sense of alertness, many times caused by the adrenaline that is enacted due to the “fight or flight” instinct that kicks in, but it’s so strange because although you feel more alert, you also can experience confusion in that exact same moment. Another thing that can begin to happen is racing thoughts that seem uncontrollable, and most of the thoughts are fear-based, confusing, and negative. Many people report they have thoughts that make them feel completely vulnerable, exposed, or as if they just want to get out of whatever area they’re in. Others say that they have thoughts of dying, or thoughts that they’re going to “lose it” and black out and not know what they’re doing. Most of the thoughts that occur during panic attacks have one common denominator: The sense of a loss of control, either over yourself or over the environment surrounding you. Having personally experienced panic attacks before in my own life, I can attest that this is one of the most harrowing aspects of the whole ordeal. The thoughts seem to flood in faster than you even have time to process or sort them out, and many times the thoughts come in the form of questions—such as “What if I die right now?”, “What if I have a heart attack?”, “Why can’t I stop thinking about all this crap?”, on and on. It can be extremely stressful and confusing.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art
Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

Panic Disorder and Its Treatments Described

The worst thing about panic attacks is that they seem to feed upon themselves, so that the fear, anxiety and nervousness just start snowballing, to where you feel like you’re “spiraling out of control”, so to speak. One of the ways I have personally described it before is as if the ground has fallen out from underneath you, and you just feel exposed, as if you’re an open target. I could go on and on about it, but the bottom line to the whole thing is, they SUCK. There are several theories as to what causes panic attacks (and I will have to cover more on that particular subject in another hub), but the common denominator is that they are all somewhat psychological in their origin. Panic attacks are definitely a mental disorder, and in many cases the cure for them is psychological (or mental) as well. Since this hub is focusing more on panic disorder treatments, I will move right in to describing a couple of the common treatments for panic disorder that are prevalent out there today. The primary treatments for panic disorder fall into two general categories: drugs or therapy. Many doctors will prescribe antidepressants for people who are suffering with panic attacks or panic disorder, with some of the most popular drugs being benzodiazepines (think Xanax, Prozac, Zoloft, etc.). These types of drugs have been (for the most part) shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of panic disorder, but there are quite a few side effects to consider, as with all medicines. Whatever drug your doctor describes, it is definitely your responsibility to do the research to make sure that you’re fully knowing what you’re getting into. The other main way to treat panic disorder is through what’s known in the psychological circles as “cognitive behavior therapy” (CBT for short), and it is a more naturalistic, holistic approach to treating the symptoms of panic disorder, using such techniques as breathing exercises, positive imagery, relaxation therapy, etc. This is, for most people, the class of panic disorder treatments that is much more palatable, as many people are averse to taking drugs, whether they be prescription or over-the-counter. At the end of the day, it is up to each individual person to talk it over extensively with their doctor and determine the right type of treatment for panic disorder.


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    • SteadyHubs profile image

      SteadyHubs 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Elisabeth. Yeah, been through my share of those attacks, glad I don't have them anymore--thank God!!!

    • profile image

      Elisabeth Williams 7 years ago

      Hey steadyhubs, good article, thanks for sharing. I can really relate to what you are saying when you say that anxiety attacks are not very easy to manage. It is a terrifying experience and you really feel hopeless while you're in the middle of an attack. And the symptoms of an anxiety attack or panic attack are not pleasant and must be dealt with rapidly. I will check out the solutions that you are mentioning to see how it is and see if it can help. If you want more info on the causes for anxiety attack, you can go there: