What is panic?
Feelings of anxiety and panic are a natural response when facing a difficult or stressful situation. Anxiety and panic become a problem when these feelings occur regularly and at any time. A panic attack consists of an intense and overwhelming rush of anxiety. Panic attacks affect the mind and the body.
What are the symptoms?
Bodily symptoms include:
- Feeling faint
- Breathing more rapidly
- Increased heart rate
Panic attacks can be very frightening and intense but they are not dangerous.
What types of treatment are recommended?
Treatment for panic usually involves self-help, talking therapies and medication.
Self-help can be a very useful first step in tackling panic. You can join a self-help group or access self-help books or online information and support. IAPT services often provide support and guidance in using self-help materials.
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for problems with panic.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps you to identify how thoughts and behaviour impact on your emotions and bodily symptoms. The aim is to develop more balanced thinking patterns and change unhelpful behaviour patterns that may cause or prolong symptoms of panic.
If you would like to receive help for panic attacks you can ask your GP for information about local mental health services or you can refer yourself directly to a service.