Panic Attack Therapy in Madison, WI
If you suddenly cannot breathe, feel your heart pounding out of your chest, are sweating and shaking, and feel that you might die any minute, you are likely in the middle of a panic attack. Characterized by their rapid onset, intensity, and seeming randomness, panic attacks are so awful and so frightening, that many people will go to great lengths to avoid them. Often mistaken for a heart attack, panic attacks can include upset stomach, numbness, obscured vision, faintness, and a sense of impending doom. Although they tend not to last very long, those minutes in panic seem to stretch on forever.
Anything associated with a previous panic attack can act as a trigger, meaning a person will avoid a location, an activity, even specific clothing or foods to prevent a recurrence. In this way, life becomes more and more restricted. Slowly but surely, the world shrinks until it is hard to leave the house at all.
If you take the time to review, and unpack the circumstances where the panic attack occurred, it is almost always possible to identify its origins. They are not random, even though they can seem to be. Identifying triggers provides trail markers to follow in the path toward deeper understanding of what is eliciting such an extreme fear reaction. Learning to identify fears, and having insight into the underlying issues makes it possible to anticipate, and interrupt panic attacks.
We use a variety of techniques to help you regulate your emotions, calm your nervous system, and relax your muscles, allowing the wave of fear to pass over you without getting you between its jaws. Together, breathing exercises and cognitive interventions are very successful in interrupting the cascade of panic.
Panic attacks can occur on their own, or as part of a more generalized anxiety disorder. Either way, treatment with a skilled therapist can be extremely effective. Don’t let your life become a series of places and situations that you avoid, come learn how to work through the anxiety, reclaiming full access to your entire life. Our Madison therapists are experienced in this work, and will walk with you out of the fear.