Panic disorder can impair your ability to go to work, limit your ability to enjoy your day, or even stop you from leaving your home. If your panic attacks are so severe that they are disrupting your daily life, it’s important to seek diagnosis and treatment. But how can you know which treatment is right for you? Finding ways to cope with panic disorder can seem overwhelming. Here are ten key points that can help you understand your treatment options for panic disorder.
1. Not Everyone with Panic Attacks has Panic Disorder.
If you are experiencing panic attacks for the first time, it’s important to have a doctor figure out why. Not everyone who has a panic attack develops panic disorder. There are also other health reasons that can cause panic attacks, including medical causes like heart issues, asthma, and hyperthyroidism.
2. You Don’t Have to Choose Between Medication OR Therapy.
If you have been diagnosed with panic disorder, treatment possibilities can include therapy, medications, or a combination of both. Medication is often most effective when combined with therapy. For treating panic disorder, therapy provides long-term coping skills and tools to manage and reduce panic attacks.
There are several different evidence-based therapies that can be used to treat panic disorder, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and mindfulness. These types of therapies—commonly known as “talk therapy”—can be very effective, and people often try talk therapy to see if they can manage their panic disorder without medications. However, for some people, starting with medication can help them achieve enough stability to participate in therapy. Often, after a person has developed the skills to cope with their anxiety, he/she may feel comfortable with stopping medications.
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