Panic Disorder Treatment Center
Letting go of the fear
Panic attacks are characterized by sudden recurring attacks of overpowering fear that last for several minutes. This usually involves a fear of disaster or losing control even if there may be no legitimate reason. Due to the spontaneous nature of these attacks, a fear is instilled in individuals with a panic disorder, as they keep anticipating the next one.
About 6 million American adults face panic disorders in a given year. Typically developed in early adulthood, women are twice as likely as men to have panic disorders.
Not everyone who experiences panic attacks develops a panic disorder. Most people just have one attack and never experience another one.
Sovereign Health Group is a residential rehabilitation treatment company for substance abuse, mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. Our expert staff provides our patients with cutting-edge treatment programming and a full continuum of therapeutic care monitored by various licensed health professionals.
What is panic disorder?
Panic disorder occurs without warning and is not triggered by a particular circumstance. The attacks are of a sudden onset and can happen often. There are no logical reasons for the panic attacks, they appear without an obvious cause and the patient exhibits feelings of fear or impending disaster. Although a mental disorder, panic attacks generate physical symptoms and can resemble symptoms of a heart attack. Panic attacks are a life disrupting disorder affecting work, home life and relationships.
An attack may happen at any time and is not predictable. If a patient associates an attack with a particular location where the attack occurred, he or she may avoid that location in the future. People live with the fear that another attack will happen at any moment, and often exhibit symptoms of agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces, which keeps those with severe symptoms housebound. It is a treatable condition, with a better chance of success if treatment begins in the early stages.
Although the main symptoms consist of panic attacks, these can be debilitating enough to lead to substance abuse and/or depression. The symptoms of panic disorder include:
- Sudden, frequent and repeated attacks of fear, five to 10 minutes in length
- Losing control during an attack
- A constant anxiety about anticipating the next attack
- Illogically sensing impending danger or doom
- Avoidance of areas where previous attacks occurred
- Physical symptoms during an attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, feeling hot or a cold chill, tingly or numb hands, chest pain or stomach pain.
The cause of panic disorder has not been discovered. A genetic factor is suspected as the disorder does run in families. It is thought that the area of the brain which controls fear may be involved or that trauma may be a causative factor. Risk factors include:
- Family history of panic disorder or attacks
- Serious illness or death of a loved one
- Major life changes
- Chronic stress
- History of trauma, particularly in childhood
- Undergoing a traumatic event
Treatment with Sovereign
Panic disorder is one of the most treatable anxiety disorders, but can go undetected for a long time as the physical symptoms can mirror those of other, more serious diseases. Since, approximately 50 percent of panic disorder patients are diagnosed with depression as well, our initial assessment is thorough and particularly designed to identify and treat any such underlying coexisting morbidity.
Upon admission, patients undergo a detailed yet comprehensive assessment by our professional staff, each expert in their particular discipline. They track down any underlying conditions that may accompany the panic attacks. A treatment plan is then designed and implemented for that particular patient to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Treatments involve medication (anti-anxiety or antidepressants), psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) or a combination of both. Studies have shown that patients who received cognitive behavioral therapy remained free of symptoms for a longer period of time. Sovereign Health offers comprehensive treatment for panic disorder, including individual and group psychotherapy.
We encourage positive lifestyle changes as part of therapy such as yoga, meditation, equine therapy, art therapy, initiation of an exercise program, a healthy diet and limiting caffeine and alcohol. Our treatment plans involve a balance of all these elements, as their variations depend on what suits the patient best.