Panic Disorder

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About Panic Disorder

A panic disorder can have a massively negative impact on your day-to-day life. It can make social situations difficult, interrupt a good night of sleep, and even stop you from doing some of the things you love to do for fear of having another panic attack. No one should have to live like that; thankfully, help is available.

At Pacific Mind Health in Long Beach, CA, our highly-trained psychiatrists—as well as our skilled psychiatric nurse practitioners and physician assistants—offer a variety of effective treatments that serve to help you get your panic disorder under control. Our goal is to help you enter a calmer state of mind that is far more content, comfortable, and collected so that you can get back to living your life to the fullest.

If you are experiencing recurrent panic attacks or have been previously diagnosed with panic disorder, please feel free to visit our friendly team here at Pacific Mind Health. You may also give us a call at 562.279.0180 or request a personal consultation online right now.

What is a panic attack?

Some people are very fortunate and may never experience a full-blown panic attack. And though most people have very few panic attacks throughout their life, there are those who are unfortunately diagnosed with a panic disorder in Long Beach, CA.

A panic attack is a sudden and overwhelming feeling of intense fear that triggers a variety of severe physical reactions, which we’ll dive into further down. This can happen as a product of encountering a situation that triggers past traumas or intense anxieties, but it can also simply happen with no apparent cause at all and no real, present danger. These panic attacks can be frightening, and many people report that they feel as if they’re losing control of their bodies, having a heart attack, or possibly even dying.

As we mentioned, many people will experience this sensation within their lifetime. However, if someone is experiencing recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and living in constant fear of the onset of another attack, that’s when it becomes a panic disorder diagnosis.

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What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

Panic attacks can strike out of nowhere. Thankfully, their symptoms usually peak within minutes and are mostly gone soon thereafter. However, many people are still left feeling exhausted and sick after a panic attack itself subsides. That’s why it’s always important to find a safe place to wait out your panic attack and have people you can trust be with you in situations where you feel a panic attack could be triggered.

Symptoms of a panic attack can include:

  • Fear of loss of control or death
  • Rapid heavy heart rate
  • Sense of impending danger or doom
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Chills or hot flashes and sweating
  • Nausea and abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain and headaches
  • Numbness or a tingling sensation
  • Shortness of breath and tightness in the throat

Many people also report sensations of feeling detached from reality during a panic attack, which is frequently known as dissociation. And if you often experience panic attacks that include any of the symptoms above, you may benefit from panic disorder treatment in Long Beach, CA.

What causes panic attack?

It isn’t exactly clear why certain individuals experience more frequent panic attacks or develop a panic disorder, as well as what causes them to happen in the first place. But we do know what factors contribute to their onset, which gives us a better idea of how to handle and prevent them. These contributing factors include:

  • Major bouts of stress
  • A genetic predisposition
  • Changes in the functioning of certain parts of the brain
  • Temperament that’s more sensitive to stress or more prone to negative emotions
  • A family history of panic attacks or panic disorder
  • A traumatic life event, such as an assault or serious accident
  • Excess tobacco smoking
  • Excess caffeine intake
  • A history of childhood abuse

Some experts are currently researching the involvement of your body’s natural fight-or-flight response to danger and how that may be the key to fully understanding panic attacks and panic disorders. That being said, we do have a wide range of modern medicines and therapeutic techniques that can help combat the onset of panic attacks and work to reduce the symptoms of panic disorders. And when you choose to find panic disorder treatment in Long Beach, CA, here at Pacific Mind Health, you’ll be taken care of by some of the best doctors and psychiatrists in the state.

How can I manage my panic attack?

While panic attacks aren’t usually dangerous, they can be immensely challenging to manage on your own. However, since they can happen unexpectedly, it’s essential to know what works for you to help stop the attack or at least get through it as safely as possible. There are a few helpful things to try, including:

  • Recognizing that you’re experiencing a panic attack, reassuring yourself that it’s nothing worse, and reminding yourself that it will soon pass.
  • Relaxing your muscles as much as possible while focusing on your breathing and doing simple, deep breathing exercises to avoid hyperventilation.
  • Closing your eyes to avoid excessive negative visual stimulation
  • Practicing mindfulness by focusing on the physical sensations you are familiar with and the objects around you that you know and recognize.

It’s also helpful to stay physically active and maintain a healthy lifestyle, as this can help to combat triggers for panic attacks, such as insufficient sleep, excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption, and the use of other recreational drugs. Other routines, such as mindfulness meditations and yoga, can also help!

Though these tricks may help, if you experience frequent panic attacks caused by a panic disorder, you’ll want the support and guidance of a trained psychiatrist in Long Beach, CA, like ours here at Pacific Mind Health. Your psychiatrist will be able to give you a psychological evaluation and recommend a variety of treatments, such as psychotherapy, medications like SSRIs and SNRIs, anti-anxiety medication, or a combination of treatment methods for best results.

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Get the Help You Need With Pacific Mind Health

During your initial psychological evaluation with Dr. Flatow, you’ll have a comprehensive and compassionate discussion about your symptoms, fears or concerns, any relationship problems, stressful situations, family history, and anything else of relevance to your panic attacks. With this information, we’ll work on a treatment plan that works uniquely for your needs and lifestyle to best counteract your panic disorder symptoms.

So, for empathetic, individualized panic disorder treatments in Long Beach, CA, visit Pacific Mind Health. You can also give us a call at 562.279.0180 or book your consultation online today!