Panic Disorder Treatment in Wellesley, Arlington and Weymouth, MA
At Colony Care Behavioral Health, we provide personalized treatment for Panic Disorder in Wellesley, Arlington, and Weymouth, MA. Panic Disorder is a mental health condition that can be debilitating and affect many aspects of a person’s life. Our team of experienced mental health professionals are dedicated to helping our patients overcome the challenges of Panic Disorder and live a fulfilling life. We use evidence-based treatment methods to address the underlying causes of Panic Disorder and provide individualized care tailored to each patient’s unique needs.
Panic disorder is a mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by sudden and recurrent panic attacks, which can be extremely distressing and disruptive to daily life.
If you have a panic attack, that does not necessarily mean you have a panic disorder.
A panic disorder is considered if:
- you have frequent, unexpected panic attacks
- there is an excessive worry for a month or longer about another attack and debilitating fear
- the attacks are not connected with another mental health condition or substance use
These criteria are determined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Keep in mind if you have occasional panic attacks but not a diagnosed panic disorder, you can still benefit from treatment. If your panic attacks aren’t treated, they can get worse and develop into panic disorder or phobias.
What are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack?
Diagnosis may be difficult because symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath also are associated with potentially serious conditions.
If you have a panic attack, there is a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort. You may experience four or more of the following symptoms occur abruptly:
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- Feeling of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- Feelings of unreality or detached from self
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of dying
- Numbness or tingling
- Chills or hot flushes
What are the Benefits of Panic Disorder Treatment?
Panic disorder treatment can be beneficial for those who want to function in everyday life. If you suffer from frequent panic attacks, you are putting your health at risk due to your mental state. Getting help can reduce the intensity and frequency of panic attacks.
Treatment for panic disorders may include:
Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy
Working with a trained therapist to manage your panic disorder can help uncover the reasons behind your panic attacks and help you learn how to cope with them.
Psychotherapy may include cognitive behavioral therapy which helps you learn the connection between your thoughts and your behaviors and how to modify these thoughts to improve your outcomes. For example, if you feel thoughts coming on that trigger anxiety or stress, your therapist can help teach you how to work through these thoughts and feelings to help avoid a panic attack. Strong evidence supports the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy in treating panic disorder.
Successful treatment can also help you so you can learn how to manage fear. If you are avoiding work, relationships, or situations because of fear of a panic attack, your therapist can help you navigate these situations.
Therapy for panic disorders can help improve outcomes within weeks or months, depending on the level of severity of your condition. You can work with your therapist to find the right approach for you.
Some people find medications help to manage panic disorders. Often, panic attacks can be triggered by depression or anxiety, so certain medications may prove helpful to manage symptoms.
Medications to help you treat panic disorders may include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are antidepressants usually recommended for panic disorders. Examples include Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another class of antidepressants. The SNRI venlafaxine (Effexor XR) is FDA approved for the treatment of panic disorder.
- Benzodiazepines are sedatives and central nervous system depressants and are usually for the short term. Those approved by the FDA for the treatment of panic disorder include alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin).
- According to research in the American Family Physician, antidepressant medications successfully reduce the severity of panic symptoms and eliminate panic attacks.
How Can I Get Help with Panic Disorders?
If you suffer from frequent panic attacks and are diagnosed with a panic disorder, it is important to seek treatment so you can function in your everyday life. Living in intense fear can get in the way of your relationships, daily tasks, or overall life goals. We are specially trained to help you get the care you need.
Our mental health clinicians in Massachusetts can help you find the right combination of psychotherapy or medical treatment to help eliminate or reduce your panic attacks. Schedule an appointment today!