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Therapist Panic Attacks Chicago, IL

If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you know just how terrifying it can feel. Our panic attack therapist Chicago services can help reduce the symptoms. The overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety causes your heart to pound, and you may have trouble breathing. You may even wonder if you’re having a heart attack. The good news is I provide therapy for panic attacks in Chicago IL at my north side office.

Therapy for Panic Attacks in Chicago IL

In my counseling practice, I work with people who have experienced panic attacks so severe that they’ve visited the emergency room, only to be told that their chest pain and other physical symptoms were all in their heads. I’m here to tell you that panic attacks — and their worrying symptoms — are all too real.

Having said this, with appropriate treatment, you can decrease or even eliminate panic symptoms and regain control. Before beginning your treatment, it’s important to understand the relationship between phobias and anxiety disorders, the causes and symptoms of panic attacks, and how talk therapy can relieve your panic and anxiety symptoms. Hypnosis is a calming adjunct that can be utilized along side primary therapy. 

Help for Anxiety disorders and phobias

You may hear the terms “anxiety attack” and “panic attack” used interchangeably, but there are some differences between the two. Panic attacks can be a symptom of a broader panic disorder, although having one or several panic attacks doesn’t automatically mean you’re suffering from panic disorder.

Panic disorder is one type of anxiety disorder. Phobias also are types of anxiety disorders. As we’ll discuss, all these conditions can be related. If you suffer from fear or anxiety that’s triggered by a certain situation or stimulus, you’re likely suffering from a phobic disorder. These disorders certainly aren’t uncommon, with between 5 and 12 percent of the global population reporting symptoms.

With a phobia, you may fear that terrible consequences will occur if you cross paths with the object of your fear, whether it’s heights, spiders, elevators, dogs or germs. If you suffer from a phobia, you probably understand that your fear is out of proportion to the danger, but you still may feel severe anxiety because of it.

Panic Attacks Treatments

People who suffer from panic attacks sometimes trigger a phobia due to their fear of having another panic attack. As a result, they may develop a phobic disorder known as agoraphobia, defined as anxiety about being in a situation that could cause embarrassment or further anxiety. Agoraphobia and panic disorder are strongly linked, and fear of suffering from a panic attack can trigger agoraphobia.

If you experience frequent panic attacks, constantly worry about having a panic attack or have changed your behavior because of panic attacks, it’s possible that you’re suffering from panic disorder. While one or even several panic attacks can be isolated incidents, the issue becomes more serious when such attacks recur. Remembering your intense fear can crush your self-confidence and disrupt your daily life, and it can lead to agoraphobia — the phobic avoidance of situations that trigger panic attacks.

How do you know if you’re having a panic attack? First, you feel reassured that it likely won’t last long — probably less than 10 minutes, although various symptoms can last longer. You may experience a strong surge of fear and panic that makes you feel extremely out of control. When it begins, out of the blue, you may feel terrified, and you’re likely to be exhausted afterward. Anxiety Therapist Chicago uses a variety of techniques to treat panic problems.

Panic and Anxiety Help

You may think you’re having a heart attack or losing your sanity. But yet, you likely will understand that your fear is not relative to the actual situation happening around you. A panic attack can happen any time, even when you’re sleeping. You may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fear of death.
  • Fear of loss of control.
  • Fast, pounding heartbeat or heart palpitations.
  • Shaking, trembling or weakness.
  • Sweating.
  • A tight feeling in your throat.
  • Feeling out of breath, trouble breathing or hyperventilation.
  • A feeling of danger or impending doom.
  • Hot flashes or chills.
  • Nausea and abdominal pain.
  • Headache.
  • Chest pain.
  • Feeling faint, lightheaded or dizzy.
  • A feeling of tingling or numbness
  • A feeling of detachment from reality.

If you’ve had a panic attack in the past, you’re at greater risk of having more attacks. Understandably, you may feel varying levels of anxiety and fear at all times, since you don’t know when the next panic attack might happen.

What causes panic attacks?

Panic disorder affects about 6 million U.S. adults, and women have double the risk of men for developing symptoms. Most sufferers start experiencing panic attacks and panic disorder as young adults.

The causes of panic disorder and panic attacks are unclear, but scientists think a genetic vulnerability may be involved. In addition, panic attacks sometimes coincide with major changes in life, like starting a new job, getting married or divorced, or starting college or graduating. As with many physical and mental disorders, stress can play a role. People who suffer from panic disorder also are more likely to suffer from alcohol or drug addiction, suicide attempts and depression.

People who are more apt to feel negative emotions or who have higher sensitivity to stress may be more likely to suffer from panic attacks. In addition, changes in the way certain parts of the brain function may contribute.

While panic attacks usually start suddenly, over time they’re more likely to be triggered by certain situations. Your body’s “fight or flight” response — intended to warn of danger — may be an element in the onset of panic attacks. Physical symptoms like fast heart rate and breathing are related to that automatic response to dangerous situations. However, we don’t fully understand why that response occurs even when there’s no obvious physical danger.

If any of the following conditions describe you, you’re more likely to suffer from panic attacks or panic disorder:

  • A family history of the disorder.
  • Trauma, such as being involved in a serious accident or being the victim of violence.
  • Significant life changes, like a marriage or birth.
  • High caffeine consumption or smoking.
  • The serious illness or death of a loved one.
  • Childhood trauma, such as sexual or physical abuse.

Talk Therapy Help in Chicago for Panic Attacks

Without treatment, panic attacks in Chicago or elsewhere can have a wide-ranging, negative impact on your life. I often see patients who live in a perpetual state of fear, which ruins their quality of life. I want you to enjoy life without worrying about having another panic attack.

If you fail to seek treatment, you could experience a number of negative side effects from your panic attacks:

  • Avoiding social settings.
  • Difficulty at your work or school.
  • Mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorder.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Substance abuse problems.
  • Difficulties with money and budgeting.
  • Medical conditions and physical health problems.
  • Development of phobias, including the fear of leaving home or driving.

Research has found that talk therapy can help lessen the effects of panic disorder — including panic attacks and the heart palpitations, fear, difficulty breathing and other worrying symptoms that come with them

Fortunately, panic attacks and panic disorder respond well to treatment, including lifestyle changes and talk therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy. I work with many patients on cognitive therapy, which involves changing your way of thinking and your internal dialogue. In addition, body therapy can help you control your breathing and relax your muscles when you feel a panic attack coming on.

If you know you’re facing a big life change or upcoming event that could cause anxiety and possibly a panic attack, it’s smart to be proactive and seek treatment. Appropriate cognitive behavioral therapy with a caring therapist can help you get control of your fears and move on with your life in peace.

Chicago Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Panic Attacks

CBT or cognitive therapy is widely viewed as a highly effective form of relief for panic attacks, panic disorder and the resulting agoraphobia. In my practice, I focus on thinking patterns and behaviors that are the likely culprits for triggering your panic attacks, and I try to help you view your fears through a more realistic lens.

Before therapy begins or between therapy sessions, I advise my patients to take some steps to help themselves, including:

  • Learning more about your panic attacks and the sensations they are likely to trigger.
  • Working on controlling your breathing to prevent hyperventilation.
  • Avoiding caffeine and nicotine, both of which can trigger panic attacks in susceptible individuals.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and progressive muscle relaxation. Learning to control your breathing and muscle response can offset the stress response caused by panic and anxiety.

To Control Panic Attacks Work With A Caring Chicago Therapist

I’ve experienced very favorable results in my work using talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy with patients suffering from panic attacks and panic disorder. To learn more about how talk therapy can relieve your panic attacks, please contact our panic attacks therapist in Chicago today at Anxiety Therapist Chicago.