Panic attacks are experiences that involve intense high psychological arousal. They are usually incorporated with symptoms of anxiety, fearing the worst, feeling loss of control and/or that you are going to die.
One of the fundamental features associated with panic attacks are negative automatic thoughts. Individuals who experience panic attacks often fear the worst happening or forward think negatively into the future. Subsequently, the individual feels as if the feared situation is happening at that time resulting in terror, nervousness, dread and panic.
Individuals who experience panic attacks often have symptoms of increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, nausea, dizziness, hot flushes, chills, chest pains and can be short of breath.
Individuals who experiences panic attacks have a fear that the feelings will last forever and they will never be able to regain control. When engaging in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Panic attacks the focus is often paid towards developing an individuals coping strategies for dealing with such situations and identifying the negative automatic thoughts and the different themes associated with these.
After the identification of the negative automatic thoughts therapy provides an opportunity to challenge them and reinterpret them in a more balanced way. These aim at reducing the physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms of panic. Additionally, behavioural interventions such as a panic diary this helps both the client and the therapist to develop an understanding of the intensity and duration of the problem. Interventions used also include stress reduction through muscle relaxation is very helpful in reducing panic.
The last part of therapy involves working around specific schemas and core beliefs to alter these vulnerabilities enabling the individual to feel more confident and more able to cope with situations that were otherwise found difficult.