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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can panic attacks be avoided?

    Related Topic
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  • 1


    Dr Toni Metelerkamp

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Toni works with adults and couples, and specialises in diagnosing and treating anxiety (panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder), phobias, substance and gambling, addictions, suicide and … View Profile

    For most people trying to avoid panic attacks can increase anxiety and even bring on a panic attack. Trying to manage panic attacks is probably a less stressful approach.  The first thing is to have a plan for when you feel a panic attack building.  There are several things that can be part of a management plan and these include:
    ·      Know your early warning signs (for example, butterflies in your stomach, clenching your teeth) and don’t ignore them. It gets harder and harder to implement your plan if you ignore the warning signs
    ·      Have at least two strategies that you have practiced and that you know work for you. One strategy that takes a bit of concentration, like a Mindfulness strategy which is good to use when you are a little anxious, but still able to concentrate.  Have another strategy that takes very little concentration, like a breathing exercise, for use when you are very anxious and it’s harder to concentrate.
    ·      Be willing to use the strategies as soon as you notice the early warning signs
    ·      Try to avoid leaving situations while panicked; it makes it much harder to go back into those situations. Try to stay, at least for a while and use your preferred breathing strategy to reduce your anxiety. Then leave the situation.  

  • Joe Gubbay

    Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    I have worked in public hospitals as well as private practice over the past 25 years. As a clinical psychologist I treat depression, social anxiety, … View Profile

    Toni's advice is very good - avoiding is usually what keeps panic going, though that might not be apparent to you (avoidance can be quite subtle).  Rather than avoiding panic, you can eliminate it by getting the right treatment.  Cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown in many studies around the world to be very effective at treating panic.  Have a chat with your doctor, and ask for a referral to a health professional who can provide cognitive behavioural therapy, such as a psychologist.  

  • Ralph Graham


    Ralph Graham, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, helping those who are affected by:grief, loss, anxiety, phobias, panic attack.And those who have been traumatised by:crime, assault, sexual abuse and … View Profile

    If you mean can you learn to avoid your attacks, there are methods taught.
    But, panic attacks will of course be avoided if a cause can be found. Avoidance techniques are based on the idea that panic is a “permanent condition.” Yet there are techniques, one of which I use that can often stop the attacks in a few sessions, sometimes in just one. I would be seeking to discover the cause and addressing it directly.
    If you wish to try a rapid technique contact me and I will try to find a professional in your area.

    My very best wishes,
    Ralph Graham

    To ask a question in private or to have me recommend someone in your area
    click Make an Enquiry

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