Panic attacks can be treated very quickly with good treatment. Panic attacks often start with physiological symptoms such as being sweaty, shortness of breath, dizziness, flushed face, pain in chest, trouble swallowing, etc. Everyday events like a hot day, physical exertion, a nightmare, anger or excitement can bring these symptoms about. The problem is at these times we have a belief these symptoms are catastrophic, i.e., fainting, a heart attack, going crazy, getting a tumor, etc.
It is important to see the catastrophic beliefs just as a “hypothesis I”…and there is a “hypothesis II” … for example, the way we are breathing can cause many of these body symptoms, i.e., holding air in our lungs and breathing on top of it can cause chest pains, over swallowing can make it difficult or painful to swallow, etc. There IS an alternative hypothesis (II) – which is scientifically proven and more realistic.
We need to “Test the Hypothesis” ..We have to test out Hypothesis II to build our confidence in the real truth. The problem is people avoid the triggers to these symptoms and this creates more anxiety. We have to actually conger up these symptoms to show ourselves we can cope for the attacks to go away. People make the error of avoiding increasing their heart rates when the heart is actually a muscle and how do you strengthen it? Speeding it up!
How to Practice
Looking at a stripped grid and trigger the worry you’re getting a brain tumor.
Holding air in your lungs and breathing on top of it to cause mild check pain
Breath like you’re having a panic attack to cause dizzy-light-headedness
Say words like “Dying” or “Ill” to conger up a rush of body symptoms as well
Wear a scarf to see what happens with sweatiness
Hold breath as long as possible to see if you stop breathing
All of these interventions with help you see the symptoms are just explainable symptoms and none which are a catastrophe. Treatment can be quick. An experienced CBT psychologist can help. 800.317.8010 or info@CBTIofSoCal.com
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