EMDR — Transforming Stress and Trauma
• Enhancing Performance
Panic Disorder Treatment and Therapy
Panic Attack Simple Symptom List:
• Rapid heartbeat
• Uncontrollable fear/dread
• Difficulty breathing
In Panic Disorder, a person experiences a repeated occurrence of panic attacks, also called anxiety episodes. The attacks may last only a few minutes or up to twenty minutes (or more), but the sufferers fear they will not end. The panicking person often believes he is dying or having a heart attack. Of course, it is important to get a medical evaluation to see if there is a physical cause. Once the diagnosis of “panic attack” is made, many patients begin to think they are going crazy. Medical personnel often fail to give the appropriate referral to a therapist who specializes in treating Panic, so the sufferer can feel frustrated at having no one to whom he can report his fears and may even feel abandoned.
One educational goal of an EMDR therapist is to help the client understand the cycle of anxiety and the role of adrenaline in panic attacks. This leads to a more accurate self-belief: “I’m having an adrenaline reaction in my body.” In EMDR Treatment for Panic, we actually consider each panic experience to be a trauma. Treatment begins with processing the first panic experience, the worst, and the most recent. When those experienced are desensitized and no longer affect the client, the next goal is to gain mastery of symptoms in the present. After that is accomplished, the therapy focuses on fear of attacks happening in the future.
Untreated Panic Disorder can occasionally progress into Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia (fear of leaving home), as clients try to manage the onset of a panic attack by avoiding the places or circumstances they associate with it. Panic Disorder can also be related to past trauma and untreated PTSD. This can be treated after the causes of Panic Disorder have been processed and desensitized. Our EMDRIA-Certified EMDR Therapists are glad to provide the needed support and safety for panic sufferers to release the burden of fear and dread that has become such a prominent part of their daily lives. Unfortunately there is little research yet on the application of EMDR with Panic, though many anecdotal reports of good results. Thus, strictly speaking, EMDR is considered experimental for panic.
We urge you to give EMDR therapy a try to see if it helps you. One San Diego woman in her 70’s who had suffered for 50 years with panic was able to overcome it in 4 months through EMDR therapy.