Overcoming Paralyzing Adverse Effects Of Panic Attacks Is A Team Effort That Begins With You

Panic attacks, part two. A recent article provided a rich yet simplified down-to-earth overview of panic attacks and how the traditional psychiatric approach operates on the medical modal. Medications either flying solo in treatment or in conjunction with therapy that utilizes a “flooding” strategy falls in line with “evidence based” practice. This approach probably works effectively with the right combination of motivated client and committed providers. To the extend that it works and to the longevity that it sustains, well, some hold to its belief, others are skeptical. If it works, by all means, continue. Now for a different perspective and approach.

The last article referenced a psychiatrist I met. His theory on panic attacks took a much different course. This article will only provide an overview of his theory. Once diagnosed with the true depths of symptoms, folks are asked to explore the root of their heightened anxieties, namely panic attacks. Now, providers understand the richness of emotional and mental pain. What we slowly and assiduously explore are the traumatic events or series of events that impacted greatly on the natural course or path of one’s life. This intense exploration must be performed willingly at the client’s pace. Due to the unknown, that is the source of the traumatic events and its long-lasting emotional effect upon the individual, a client may need more time than the norm with a treatment provider. Uncovering what has been repressed for survival and concomitant avoidance of emotional-mental pain is risky. Frequently, loving family or friends are encouraged to be a part of the treatment for additional support.

Once the source of the trauma has been identified, the client is educated and encouraged to move forward to resolve the unresolved experience. Sounds easy … it isn’t! Trauma so-to-speak is in the eye of the beholder. Each person realizes and experiences trauma uniquely. Panic attacks experienced later in life is the body’s language of holding onto the intensification of unresolved issues, namely from traumatic events. Hope I haven’t lost you. Folks with panic attacks speak to unkind and unhealthy bodily sensations such as headaches, nausea, cardiac concerns just to name a few. By the way, emergency rooms are frequented by panic attack folks. Only when a physician rules out heart problems does a finger point to panic attacks, as a diagnosis to the aforementioned bodily sensations. Over-simplification … you catch my drift.

While the medications can help calm nerve centers in the brain, it doesn’t relieve the sufferer from the constant, that I, unresolved pain. During a traumatic event, we go into survival or self-preservation mode. Emotions often get set aside in order to deal with the immediate event such as a sexual violation to one’s person, an accident, a fire or viewing death and destruction. Panic attacks are the body language to let the sufferer know that the problem still exists. What have not been fully resolved are the emotions that naturally occur in any given event especially a trauma.

Incomplete experiences are often remembered even when we may wish to forget. A compassionate provider along with supportive loved ones coupled with the sufferer’s commitment to see well being over time can resolve much of the paralyzing adverse effect of panic attacks. Then, perhaps, the sufferer may suffer less and enjoy life more! It’s all risky yet the rewards are real. Thank you. Best of health.

Marshall Greenstein holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email editorial@post-journal.com.