Panic Attack Treatment
When treating panic attacks, options can include medications, specific types of psychotherapy, or a combination of both. It can take time to see positive results from treatment, so give it a fair chance before giving up or switching to a different method. Also, some medications used for panic attacks must be tapered off slowly under a doctor's guidance, so never abruptly stop taking these medications.
Not everyone who experiences a panic attack will develop panic disorder. For example, many people have one attack but never have another. For these people, treatment is not necessary.
For those who do have panic disorder, however, it's important to seek treatment. Untreated, the disorder can become disabling.
Throughout this article, the terms "panic attack" and "panic disorder" are used interchangeably.
Panic disorder is one of the most treatable of the anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, or a combination of both are used to treat panic attacks. The specific choice depends on the patient's and the doctor's preference.
Proper treatment helps 70 to 90 percent of people with panic disorder, usually within six to eight weeks.
Before panic attack treatment can begin, the doctor must conduct a careful evaluation to determine whether the panic attack symptoms are due to a panic disorder and what other conditions may be present.
Sometimes, alcoholism or another coexisting condition will have such an impact that it is necessary to treat it at the same time or before treating the panic disorder.
If you have been treated previously for a panic attack disorder, be prepared to tell the doctor what panic attack treatment you tried. If it was a medication, what was the dosage, was it gradually increased, and how long did you take it? If you had psychotherapy, what kind was it and how often did you attend sessions?
It often happens that people believe they have "failed" at treatment, or that the treatment has failed them, when, in fact, it was never given an adequate trial.
When you undergo treatment for panic attacks, you and your doctor or therapist will be working together as a team. Together, you will attempt to find the approach that is best for you. If one treatment doesn't work, the odds are good that another one will. And new treatments are continually being developed through research. So don't give up hope.