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Help for panic attacks from Melbourne psychologists

Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear or heightened anxiety which victims commonly regard as one of the most intensely upsetting experiences of their lives. People can feel they are dying, having a heart attack, or losing their minds.

The feelings may provoke a powerful urge to escape, although there may not be any obvious sign of physical danger.

Repeated panic attacks are considered a symptom of panic disorder, which can be diagnosed through screening tools. Approximately 5 per cent of Australians will experience panic disorder in their lifetimes. Women are more likely to suffer from the condition, which usually begins in the early to mid-20s or in mid-life.

What are some of the signs of a panic attack?

Physical

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Palpitations, fast heart rate or pounding heart
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Tunnel vision

Emotional

  • Feelings of unreality
  • Feelings of detachment

Cognitive

  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control or impending doom

Strategies for managing panic attacks

  • Learn about anxiety, panic attacks and panic disorder
  • Learn calm breathing and muscle relaxation
  • Be aware of the thoughts and feelings that trigger a panic attack
  • Know that panic attacks don’t last forever, even if it feels like they do

When to seek professional assistance

If your panic attacks (or fears of impending panic attacks) are preventing you from everyday activities such as going shopping, using public transport or taking part in social activities, it may be time to seek help from a psychologist.

The well-researched interventions used by our psychologists aim to change patterns of negative, unhelpful thinking, unhelpful behaviour and the person’s response to life events that may trigger the panic cycle.

For more information or to make an appointment contact us on our Live Chat or phone (03) 9629 1001 or send us an email via our contact form.

Medicare Rebate for Psychologist Counselling

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"Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being."

—Albert Schweitzer

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