“What if something is seriously wrong with me? What if I’m having a heart attack!”
Did you know that around one in three people will have a full-blown panic attack in their lifetime? Most people don’t go on to develop an ongoing panic-focussed problem, but around 2.6% of Australian adults will experience a panic disorder in any given year. Panic disorder is when a person experiences recurring and unexpected panic attacks that seem to happen “out of the blue” or with no obvious trigger. The person is very worried about what these attacks mean – and is concerned it is a sign of something very dangerous (e.g. a heart condition / heart attacks, going crazy / losing control, something wrong with the brain, problems with breathing) and actually ends up having more panic attacks as a result. People with panic disorder also make changes to their daily life based on these fears, for example if the fear relates to having a heart attack then one might avoid physical activity, coffee, or anything that might raise the heart rate. These concerns often persist even after repeated reassurance from medical professionals. Effective treatment is available for people living with panic disorder. At Winkler Psychology, we offer psychological treatment for panic disorder guided by the latest scientific research and best practice.