One minute you’re fine, the next…

You're overwhelmed by fear. Your heart’s racing, your breath is rapid. You feel dizzy and out of control. You're nauseous. Your skin feels clammy and your hands are trembling. It feels like you’re having a heart attack or about to suffocate.

You go to the doctor but he tells you there’s nothing wrong.

So what happened?

You had a panic attack.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health , about 6 million American adults, or about 2.7% of the population, have panic attacks. Panic Disorder typically develops in early adulthood (usually around age 24), but often occurs later in adulthood.

The worst part is that now you're living in fear of when your next panic attack will happen and you're terrified it'll happen in public. So, you stop going to the grocery store because you wouldn't want to be trapped in line. You stop driving because you're afraid your next panic attack will cause a car accident. Before you know it, you're afraid to go out alone and even then you're fear is overwhelming.

So what do you do?

Panic attacks are treatable. Talk therapy and hypnosis are both successful methods for treating panic attacks.

Your therapist will teach you about the causes of panic attacks, the link between your body and your feelings, how to recognize the link between any thoughts and behaviors that might be triggering or continuing the attacks. You'll also learn effective coping strategies to manage your anxiety and panic like: thought stopping techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and breathing exercises.

If you're suffering from panic attacks, therapy can teach you how to prevent and cope with panic and anxiety. Even a short amount of sessions can help. Many people experience a dramatic improvement in as few as 6 to 12 sessions.

Medications can also be used to temporarily manage or reduce the worst symptoms, but they won't resolve the problem. Contact your doctor to see if medication would be an effective addition to therapy.

Author's Bio: 

Katie Goode is a Marriage and Family Therapist in Mission Viejo, CA. She works with individuals and teens struggling with panic, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-esteem issues. She use a combination of mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavioral, and hypnosis techniques.
In addition to her private practice, she teaches and provide clinical supervision at Hope International University's school of Marriage and Family Therapy. She is also the President of the Orange County Chapter of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. For more information, visit