Panic Disorder Treatment Program Options
Some people experience unexpected panic attacks under normal circumstances. The fear often lasts for several minutes, and this condition is called panic disorder. If you or a person you know suffers from a panic disorder, do not hesitate to call to find out about the available panic disorder treatment and program options.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), one out of 75 individuals may suffer from panic disorder. A person who suffers from the disorder often experiences acute anxiety and fear within 10 minutes after the first symptom. A panic attack can develop quickly and sometimes lasts for several minutes. The attacks rarely last for an hour.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-V) has reported the most common symptoms of panic disorder. They include:
Sudden and recurrent panic attacks
Persistent concern about suffering from additional attacks after the first attack occurs
Presence (or absence) of agoraphobia or the fear of being in a place where a panic attack may occur
The panic attack was not due to any psychological effect due to intake of abusive substances or due to the presence of other mental disorders
A change of behavior after suffering from a panic attack
Most individuals feel shaken and distressed after the attack and often fear the recurrence of another panic attack. Some may mistake the feeling with having a heart attack and may consult a medical doctor instead of a psychiatrist.
What Causes Panic Disorders?
There is no known definite cause of panic disorders, although a study conducted by the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) reported that the disorder might run in families. Researchers have also found that some parts of the brain are linked to fear and anxiety. Panic disorders, which are anxiety disorders, can also develop early in childhood. In a recent study by the Mayo Clinic, children who generally avoid scary situations are more likely to suffer from anxiety. Children who are victims of bullying also have a higher chance of developing an anxiety disorder or depression during their adult lives.
Is There a Cure for Panic Disorders?
Feeling fear or panic is not a disorder in itself. There are many ways to prevent or stop anxious feelings before they worsen and turn into a panic attack. If you are suffering from a situational panic attack or feel anxious because of a fearful situation, the best thing to do is to walk away from your feared situation. Try performing relaxation techniques, such as taking deep breaths. Changing your diet and sleeping habits can also help you manage anxiety and lessen panic attacks that are brought about by stress or environmental factors.
Therapies for Panic Disorders
Unexpected and repeated panic attacks that occur under normal circumstances require specialized treatment to control them. Fortunately, panic disorders are not usually difficult to treat. In general, the available treatment options for panic disorders include attending counseling sessions with a psychiatrist or a support group and taking prescribed medications as indicated by your doctor.
According to the NIMH, 59.1 percent of people with panic disorders receive treatment. The goal of the treatment is to prevent future panic attacks, relieve anticipatory apprehension and enable patients to overcome any avoidance behavior that may have developed during the course of the patient’s panic disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment for Panic Disorders
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common treatments for panic disorders. During the cognitive therapy, the patient is taught how to change their perspective about their particular fears. During the behavioral therapy, the patient learns how to react to apprehensive or anxiety-provoking situations.
Many people who suffer from panic disorders tend to feel discouraged because they cannot perform their regular routines due to their fear of having a panic attack. Most individuals may believe that they are being judged because of their disorder, which can lead to social phobia. During CBT, the patient learns how to overcome these fears by confronting situations that can trigger anxiety. CBT therapists also teach patients breathing exercises and workouts to encourage relaxation and to relieve anxiety.
CBT is only undertaken with the permission of the person being treated. The patient must be ready for the activities integrated in the therapy, as the treatment can only be effective with the wholehearted participation of the patient. CBT is also tailored to the individual’s specific needs and may cause temporary discomfort or increased feelings of anxiety at the onset of therapy.
CBT often takes 12 weeks to complete, and it can be conducted with a group or on an individual basis. The NIMH reported that there is some evidence of CBT having longer benefits when compared to taking medications. If a panic disorder should recur at a later date, it can be used to successfully treat the condition again for the second time. You can call to get more information about the various techniques used in CBT for panic disorders.
Exposure Therapy for Treating Panic Disorders
Exposure-based therapy is a form of CBT that is meant to reduce anxiety and fear responses of people to certain situations. During exposure therapy, the patient is gradually and repeatedly exposed to the feared object, place or situation. The therapist may use pictures or videos to represent the patient’s fear until a face-to-face encounter can occur. The therapist can accompany the patient during the personal encounter with the feared object, place or situation.
It is particularly effective in treating panic disorders, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you or a person you know is thinking of undergoing an exposure therapy, it is recommended to get a referral to a therapist who is experienced in providing exposure techniques.
Other Therapeutic Methods
Aside from CBT and exposure therapy, other complementary therapy and treatment methods that can actually help people with panic disorder include:
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
This therapy teaches patients to live in the moment and view things without judgment.
Stress and relaxation techniques.
These strategies help sufferers cope and manage their stress levels and emotions during stressful situations.
This combination of breathing exercises, meditation and physical poses help the mind and body relax.
This therapy involves the use of needles to manipulate the body’s flow of energy.
Residential Inpatient Panic Disorder Treatment Centers
The NIMH reported that 2.7 percent of the US adult population suffers from prevalent panic disorder, and 44.8 percent of that population is considered severe. A residential panic disorder treatment program is ideal for individuals who suffer from severe or co-occurring mental conditions. Many individuals who have panic disorders can also develop certain phobias as a result of the latter. These phobias can include:
- Social phobia
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social phobia
An inpatient treatment setting is recommended to ensure that each condition is treated accordingly. Some patients may feel more secure inside a residential treatment facility, as there are doctors and staff members available in case a sudden panic attack occurs. If you want help in finding the best residential treatment program, call us today at to speak with a trained professional who can assist you.
The Benefits of Residential Panic Treatments
Although outpatient therapies can successfully treat a person’s panic disorder, the condition can still recur and last for a long time. Some people may not respond to medications and psychological interventions during the treatment process. Although there is a lack of detailed studies supporting residential or long-term panic disorder treatment, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) believes that people with panic disorders should receive both psychotherapy and drug treatment to completely recover from this condition.
Luxury Panic Disorder Facilities
Luxury panic disorder centers offer more amenities than traditional recovery centers. Such centers are often located in secluded areas where the patient can live without worrying about someone invading their privacy. Luxury programs may offer more therapies, such as holistic treatment programs and adventure therapies. Luxury centers may also offer more advanced treatment methods or techniques that are not readily available in public or regular panic disorder facilities.
Executive Panic Disorder Programs
Many luxurious and private panic disorder centers offer exclusive treatment programs to patients. They may include massage therapy, acupuncture from well-known acupuncturists, traditional Western and Eastern medicine techniques, personal attendants, and more.
Because women are twice more likely to experience panic disorder than men, many private panic disorder centers offer exclusive treatment just for women. You can call to find a private panic disorder treatment center that offers exclusive treatment programs for women suffering from this condition.
Outpatient Panic Rehab and Treatment Programs
An outpatient panic rehab and treatment program can take four months to complete, depending on each person’s individual progress. Unlike in an inpatient setting, an individual visits the outpatient center and receives treatment for several hours. An outpatient panic disorder treatment center is recommended if the patient only suffers from panic disorder.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
Like other psychological conditions, panic disorder can be controlled with prescription medications. Antidepressants are often used to reduce the severity of panic attacks and improve the patient’s overall quality of life. Some of the most commonly used antidepressants include:
- SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which block the reabsorption of serotonin by the other nerve cells in the brain
- SNRIs or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- Benzodiazepines, which are often used as a short-term medication to relieve anxiety
- Tricyclic antidepressants, which are sometimes used as a substitute for benzodiazepines
All these medications have side effects, some of which include sleepiness, insomnia, weight gain, abdominal stress, blurred vision, dry mouth, headache and sexual dysfunction. Consult your physician to get more detailed information about these medications.