Increases in incidence of Panic Attack Disorder in our age will probably cause this condition to be seen as the leading mental illness of the 21st Century. Each year, more people enter hospital emergency rooms, suspecting they are having heart attacks. Other than running an EKG and doing a stress test, there is little the hospital can do for them. In response to the Generalized Anxiety or Agoraphobia from which many suffer, primary care physicians offer traditional anti-anxiety medications. These drugs are often addictive, and can have side effects that are worse than the reasons for having taken them!
The good news is that anxiety and panic attack disorder are among the most responsive conditions to treatment, provided the approach is right. It starts with awareness of the strong link between inflammation of the brain and anxiety, as has been verified, over and over, in studies of this relationship.
Several lifestyle choices and interventions make a significant difference in inflammatory levels, giving the individual more ability to then succeed with mental strategies such as mindfulness, meditation, breathing techniques, and cognitive-behavioral changes.
Biofeedback offers a comprehensive plotting of the patient’s autonomic nervous system on computer, allowing patients to see the exact patterns of their breathing, pulse, skin temperature and skin conductancy. In a relatively short while, patients can learn to regulate their breathing, steady the pulse, raise their skin temperature (which indicates increased calm) and reduce skin reactivity.
Hypnotherapy is yet another very effective medium of treatment for this condition; in the peace and calm of a hypnotic state, patients can reset their reactions to life’s events, and learn to respond to stressors differently.
Neurofeedback is another very effective medium for recovery. Research has identified typical profiles of brain activity in people with anxiety/panic attack, and those without, and we can identify the patient’s specific pattern through brain mapping. Based on this profile, we can prescribe a course of treatment that reduces the anxiety-provoking patterns and restores confidence. Although patients respond at different rates, and past experiences are no guarantee of future success, clinicians usually observe significant reduction in anxiety level, and even frequent reports of a discontinuation of the panic attacks, after as few as two treatments.
A new addition to our practice, of which we are very proud is the Brain Spa. Patients are trained to conduct their own meditations, Alpha-Stim electrical microcurrent, and peripheral biofeedback. This provides an affordable manner of attaining frequent treatments, which has proven the best way to reduce anxiety and panic quite quickly.
You do not have to live with crippling anxiety or panic attacks.
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