Millions of people around the world have problems with anxiety and panic attacks. A large number of them take medication to control anxiety, but that option isn’t for everyone. Some people are simply against taking prescription medications if it’s possible to avoid them, and others experience debilitating side effects that they are unable to tolerate.
These anti-anxiety medications are also expensive, and not everyone can afford the medicine. No matter what the reason for staying off of medication, there are other methods to quell panic attacks, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular.
A person who uses cognitive behavioral therapy for panic attacks or other, similar problems gets a set of mental and emotional “tools” that he can use to experience fewer symptoms of panic and anxiety. The therapy is designed to reshape the way in which a person thinks so that previous thoughts and feelings no longer trigger a specific response – in this case, a panic attack. The therapy usually takes place over a 12-week period, although some people need to attend for a longer period of time.
Cognitive behavioral therapy should always be undertaken with the help of a licensed mental health professional to avoid severe emotional trauma to the patient. While this kind of therapy might be uncomfortable to work through, a patient must be “pushed” to a certain extent before he can begin to recover from the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
In the case of panic attacks and other anxiety problems, a person usually experiences these anxious feelings in certain situations. Exposure therapy is used to show that person that he does not need to experience that level of anxiety, and that it is out of proportion to the event or place. It can be difficult and stressful for a person with panic attacks to be exposed to the source of his anxiety, but anxiety cannot stay at panic levels forever, and when performed properly, exposure therapy can yield positive results.
Initially, some people who experience panic attacks find that their panic worsens during the first few weeks of therapy due to their exposure to circumstances that they fear. However, over time, the patient is better able to accept thoughts, feelings, sensations, places, and events without the activation of the panic response.
Panic attacks are serious, and they can lead to serious panic disorder if they aren’t treated, so finding a way to get panic attacks under control is very important. Cognitive behavioral therapy is only one of the methods used to control anxiety, but a large number of people find that it works well for them. It allows people to conquer their panic, learn to control it, and resume their normal lives, free from overwhelming worry and fear.
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