New York Psychiatrist

Panic Disorder TherapyNew York, NY

Panic disorder therapy is for anyone who regularly experiences panic attacks. These are a sudden occurrence of intense fear or panic that leads to a serious physical reaction even though there is no apparent danger present or cause for the attack.

Many of those who have had a panic attack only experience it once or twice during their life and it typically goes away on its own. A person who has reoccurring panic attacks has an illness known as a panic disorder. Panic attacks are not directly threatening, but it can put a person in some dangerous situations if it occurs during certain activities like while operating a vehicle. Panic attacks can be frightening experiences and they can significantly affect a person's quality of life.

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Why you need panic disorder therapy

A panic attack can occur without any warning. It can strike anytime. Some people with panic disorders experience occasional attacks while others frequently experience them. The length of a panic attack varies from person to person, but it is typically over within a few minutes. It is not uncommon for a patient to feel worn out or fatigued after experiencing a panic attack.

Symptoms of panic disorder include:

  • Fear of death or a loss of control
  • An increased pounding heart rate
  • A feeling of impending danger or doom
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Shaking
  • Tight feeling in the throat
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Detachment
  • Stomach cramps
  • What causes panic disorder?

    The exact causes of panic disorders are not yet known, but there are some things that increase a person's risk factor. These include:

  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Personality
  • Changes in brain function
  • Smoking
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Childhood or sexual abuse
  • Traumatic life event

  • Panic attacks can occur without any warning, but they are typically triggered by an event or situation. Panic attacks have been linked to the natural fight or flight system since the physical changes that transpire are the same that would occur if the danger was real.

    Failing to address panic attacks can lead to:

  • Avoiding social situations
  • The development of phobias
  • Issues at school or work
  • Depression and other mental disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Poor finances
  • Drug use
  • Diagnosis and panic disorder therapy

    A doctor can determine if a person has panic disorder instead of a health condition with similar symptoms like heart problems. A physical exam may be conducted, as well as blood tests and a psychological evaluation. The patient might also be asked about their use of substances like alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. 


    Treatment helps to reduce the frequency and intensity of a person's panic attacks. This, in turn, improves the person's ability to function daily. Treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy (talking therapy) – It helps to understand the source of the attacks
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – The patient learns new skills and habits that teach them how to overcome the triggers that lead to the attacks
  • Medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and benzodiazepines
  • Do not let panics attacks take away your ability to function daily

    At Eileen Wachter, MD , we can treat and manage your panic attacks. It is possible to live a healthy and full life while dealing with this disorder. Visit us at our New York office today.