Diseases

Panic attack: the treatments

The panic attack first requires the isolation of the patient in a quiet place, away from an often frantic entourage.

Relaxation techniques, such as the attention to deep breaths, reduce breathing and reduce physical stress. Mindfulness meditation exercises, or cardiac coherence, can also calm the panic attack. When these measures are not sufficient, drug therapy with tranquilizers (benzodiazepines most often) may be necessary.

Panic disorder is improved by some antidepressant treatments (tricyclic and serotonergic), even in the absence of associated depression. Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapies have been shown to be effective, and thus remain the first-line treatment, whether or not associated with medication.

The typical (and simplified) sequence of sessions is as follows: the patient and the therapist establish a hierarchical list of symptoms present during an attack (from the most severe to the least severe).

Then, the subject imagines a crisis according to a pre-established progression and learns at the same time to relax. Thus, the subject realizes that his palpitations or chest pain are not synonymous with a heart attack and that he can self-manage his physical manifestations of anxiety (cognitive restructuring). Then, the patient is gradually confronted with his fears in reality ("in vivo").

Psychoanalysis can be a very good indication if the patient requests it.

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Read also :

Sophrology against depression
Overcoming your phobias and anxiety disorders
Which psychotherapy to choose?
EMDR after trauma: it works for children too

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