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Overcoming Panic Attacks

You’ve heard the term, but you’re not sure what a “Panic Attack” actually looks or feels like. We can help with that. Panic attacks usually are the worst at 10 minutes in and are typically completely over within 30 minutes. Symptoms of panic attacks can include the following:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking, Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Heart pounding or palpitating (skipping beats)
  • Can’t breathe, feel like you’re choking
  • Chest pain or Nausea
  • Fear you are dying, going crazy, or losing control

Now if that doesn’t sound horrible, I don’t know what does!

According to research [1], 24% of the population in the United States will suffer from a panic attack at least once in their lives. Panic attacks can happen to adults, children, and everyone in between. They can happen when something scary is going on, or when everything is calm. Sometimes they even affect people in the middle of the night.

Panic attacks and Panic Disorder can really get in the way of you living the life you want. But don’t worry! We can help!

How Can Therapy and Counseling for Panic Attacks help me?

Good question. Many different modes of therapy can be used to address panic attacks. Your therapist may suggest any of the following approaches:

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy –  typically done in a one-to-one setting. This is a way to help you figure out how your thoughts impact your feelings and then your behavior. If we can help figure out the misconceptions that are underneath your fears, then we can help you step right over those bad boys.
  • Stress Management: this approach addresses very specific moments of stress in your life, such as work, school, socializing, etc and helps you to find strategies for success in managing your anxiety.
  • Exposure Therapy: this is a way to very slowly help you get acclimated to those social situations that are most troublesome (read: terrifying), so that you don’t have to avoid them anymore.
  • Relaxation Techniques: like psychotherapeutic yoga, meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, art therapy, progressive muscle relaxation – all approaches to help you manage panic when it does set in.
  • Medication Management: as a supplement to traditional therapy or counseling, we collaborate with many physicians and psychiatrists in the Grand Rapids area who utilize medication to assist in treatment.

We are here for you and we can help!


[1] Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Jin, R., Ruscio, A. M., Shear. K., & Walters, E. E., 2006. The epidemiology of panic attacks, panic disorders, and agoraphobia in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, 63, 415-424.