Panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

A panic attack or anxiety attack is marked by sudden, overwhelming fear and physical symptoms driven by the nervous system. Dizziness, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, and chest pains are common panic attack symptoms. Panic attacks may arise quickly and the level of fear and anxiety is typically not proportionate to the current situation. One can even feel an overwhelming need to flee or escape the situation even when no real danger is present. Significant life transitions such as college graduation, moving to a new city, getting married, or starting a family can trigger a panic attack.

Panic disorder is characterized by ongoing panic attacks and a severe anxiety about when the next attack will occur. If left untreated, the intense fear and apprehension that accompany panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia, detachment from people and activities, and even substance abuse.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another type of anxiety disorder. It may begin following exposure to a traumatic event that threatened one’s life or well-being. Most often this includes military events, physical or sexual abuse, surviving a disaster or accident, or being the victim of a crime or other violent experience. The symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can include flashbacks of the event, overwhelming memories and nightmares, insomnia, anger and constant stress, or agitation. PTSD is usually diagnosed when symptoms persist beyond one month and significantly impact social and professional functioning.

At Swerdlow-Freed Psychology we provide treatment of PTSD and teach techniques for reducing symptoms of anxiety, including panic attacks. We offer an emotionally comfortable, relaxed setting and help you explore and resolve the sources of your anxiety.

Together we will work to:

  • Develop strategies to reduce or eliminate anxiety
  • Develop relaxation and distraction activities
  • Explore past traumatic events to resolve distressful feelings
  • Identify life conflicts that cause anxiety
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