Panic disorder is a form of anxiety disorder which can be extremely intense, many times individuals who have a panic attack end up going to the emergency room imagining that the rapid heart beat and dizziness are a heart attack. To be diagnosed with Panic Disorder ones must have 4 of the 13 criteria listed below: girl covering face while having a panic attack

  • Heart Palpitations
  • Trembling
  • Shaking
  • A feeling of smothering
  • Feeling of Choking
  • Discomfort or Pain in the chest
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Sweating, Chills or Hot Flashes
  • Derealization or Depersonalization
  • Fear of losing control or a feeling that you are “going crazy”
  • Abdominal distress including a heightened need to urinate or defecate
  • Fear of Dying


Treatment can help reduce the intensity and frequency of your panic attacks and improve your function in daily life. The main treatment options are therapy and medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to the feelings that happen during or before a panic attack. EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) can help reduce how often panic attacks are triggered in the first place.

Coping Skills

Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking – these can make panic attacks worse. Regular relaxation can help reduce the occurrence of panic attacks.

Breathing exercise:

  • breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
  • breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
  • some people find it helpful to count on each in-breath and each out-breath, try to make the out breathe longer than the in breathe
  • close your eyes and focus on your breathing

For more ways to cope, contact us to schedule an appointment.