Anxiety Panic Attacks Panic Disorder

Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder – Part 5/6 How medical treatment or counselling/psychotherapy can help panic attacks and panic disorder

How medical treatment or counselling/psychotherapy can help

Both medical treatment and counselling/psychotherapy can be helpful in the treatment panic attacks and panic disorder. It is recommended that both medical and psychological treatment is sort. It is important to have a medical check up to ensure that the symptoms you are experiencing are not related to a medical condition.

Once medical conditions have been ruled out, medication may be helpful in the treatment of panic attacks and panic disorder. These include anti-depressants such as serotonin re-uptake inhibitors SRI’s (Prozac or Luvox), tricyclic antidepressants (ie Tofranil or Anafranil) or monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or benzodiazepines (such as Xanax). If you are considering medication for panic attacks or panic disorder you should discuss this with a medical professional such as a general practitioner (GP) or psychiatrist.

Psychological treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder may focus on the following;

  • Psychoeducation about anxiety, panic attacks and panic disorder
  • Changing unhelpful behaviour patterns
  • Changing unhelpful thinking patterns
  • Exposure to physical sensations related to panic
  • Normalising thoughts related to the physical sensations of anxiety and panic
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Breathing strategies
  • Mindfulness skills
  • Thought stopping and distraction techniques
  • Addressing avoidance and ‘safety’ behaviour
  • Exploring the psychological significance of panic and unconscious conflicts and addressing interpersonal issues related to panic (such as unconscious anger towards loved ones, fearful dependency, ambivalent attachment patterns, ambivalent feelings about autonomy, fear of loss or abandonment)
  • Encouraging emotional experience and expression
  • Developing exercise routines
  • Relapse prevention

If you are experiencing any difficulties with anxiety, panic attacks or other mental health issues and would like help please contact Sherry-Lee Smith on 042 135 1020 or

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Mt Lawley Counselling Centre

13 Alvan St

Mt Lawley, Perth Western Australia 6050

Sherry-Lee Smith

Registered Psychologist