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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I help my severe anxiety and panic attacks?

    I have suffered and am suffering greatly now from anxiety, stress and panic atttacks for 30 years and I am desperate.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Nicholas Rooke

    Psychologist

    Hi,
    You might like to start by seeing your GP.  They can in turn refer you to a psychologist in your area.

    A GP mental health care plan means you will be able to access Medicare rebates for your psychology sessions.

    There's lots of evidence for treatments like Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) having really good effect for panic and anxiety. 

    There's also no reason why a long history of panic means less effective treatment - there are lots of techniques that will help you deal with your symptoms.
    Good luck!

  • 3

    Thanks

    Renee Mill

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Empowering people is my passion and life work. I have been working as a Clinical Psychologist in private practice for over thirty years. I have … View Profile

    Living with anxiety can lead to desperation if it does not let up. The important thing to know is that the longer you experience the anxiety, the more it becomes your "default" mode. Your body and brain literally get used to thinking, and responding, in an anxious pattern and the pattern becomes more and more entrenched.  

    Therefore, it is essential that you seek treatment ASAP. Research has shown that CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is very effective in treating anxiety. CBT will train your mind to think differently and your body to respond differently. 

    Once you start CBT therapy, you should feel improvements quite quickly. However, the key to long lasting change is that you persist and practice your new thoughts and behaviours until they become habitual and become your default mode. 

  • Jeannette Kavanagh

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I work with you to find your unique solutions to your problems. It's important that my clients gain some new strategies that they can apply … View Profile

    With anxiety which can easily become episodes of panic, it's vital to be prepared to take a multi-faceted approach.

    Many professionals use and suggest Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).  I use it with clients but it's an approach that must be augmented with hypnosis, training in mindfulness and other forms of meditation.  CBT assumes that anxiety is about feeling agitated and afraid based on a failure to really understand that there's nothing to fear.  Many people realise the irrationality of their fear-filled feelings. That cognition doesn't rid them of the feelings.

    You have to examine your own agency in the cycle of anxiety and panic.  For example, let's say that you have panic attacks in a lift - to the point where you now avoid taking the elevator or lift.  You have to rehearse that panic.  In the sense that you now just think "oh no. I have to take the lift".  That thought makes you anticipate that you'll feel panicky again in that lift.  Of course. You felt terrified in the lift on the last three occasions.  You're absolutely certain you'll be gripped with terror again.

    And guess what?  You are. Filled with terror, again.

    The mere thought and memory of past episodes of panic sets you up to feel it again.  That panic cycle can be broken. You can work to develop your inner store of calm through meditation and other practices.  You can use CBT to examine your role in that cycle and you can use hypnosis to connect with and use your strengths to solve your problems.  Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and other forms of energy psychology are a great complement to more conventional approaches.  You may want to try them because for many people, conventional psychology has not helped.  EFT is often called psychological acupuncture because it's based on the principles of acupuncture.  Not so long ago, we scorned acupuncture which is now taught as an option in medical courses.

  • 2

    Thanks

    I work in partnership with my clients to achieve the best possible outcome, specific to my clients goals and objectives. I am most experienced in … View Profile

    The root causes of anxiety are varied. Some people have a predispostion towards anxiety, others worry a lot, etc. Panic attacks occur when you are overwhelmed with a stressful situation. Slow, deep breathing can help de-escalate the panic attack. When stabilised it is helpful to review the thoughts at the time and plan to change the thoughts if a similar situation happens again.

    Anxiety can also be a consequence of trauma. In this instance the solution is to find a trauma therapist who will help you regulate your emotions and behaviour and then process the trauma memories with you. This process will reduce and at best eliminate the troubling symptoms of trauma, which can include anxiety. 

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