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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions about The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management, Los Angeles.

Am I the only person who has panic attacks?

Absolutely not! According to The National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 6 million Americans are struggling with consistent, intense panic attacks in any one year.

 

How can The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles help?

The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles specializes in all anxiety disorders, including phobias and provides treatment with Cognitive-Behavioral methods focused on Exposure and Response Prevention – the key treatment for phobias.  We design a unique treatment plan to match your specific needs and struggles so that you can break free from anxiety and get your life back!

 

How is Panic Disorder created?

In simple terms, Panic disorder is created from a fear of fear.

More often than not, due to the intense experience one undergoes during their first panic attack, one then fears having another.

This fear of having another panic attack is really just a fear of experiencing bodily sensations many associate with fear - rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, difficulty breathing, tingling in the hands and feet, etc.

Unfortunately, the more you fear panic, the greater the likelihood that you'll panic.  Frequent panic attacks can then lead to Panic Disorder.

 

What are some commonly seen phobias?

Fear of driving, fear of elevators, fear of heights, fear of crowds, fear of flying, fear of being outside the home on your own, fear of small spaces, fear of being trapped in situations one cannot easily remove themselves from without a degree of difficulty or embarrassment, fear of dogs, fear of spiders, fear of bridges, fear of traveling in a car, and fear of open spaces are commonly treated at The April Center.  However, there are many less publicly known phobias that we treat as well, including dark phobia, people phobia, cat phobia, photo phobia, needle phobia, water phobia, blood phobia, bird phobia, bug phobia, doctor phobia, snake phobia, being alone phobia, food phobia, etc.

What causes panic attacks?

Although they may feel like they come "out of nowhere", panic is due to unconscious thoughts or feelings in response to distressing anxiety that sets you on course for an attack. Panic attacks usually arrive at a very stressful point in one's life or a time where stress has been steadily increasing.

Ultimately, it is one's thoughts that create a panic attack as one incorrectly responds to the anxious sensations of adrenaline and other chemicals in the body by labeling them alarmingly dangerous.

At our center, we help you create a new relationship with anxious feelings and their uncomfortable sensations so that you can begin to identify when you are in actual danger and when you're not.  This marks the beginning of panic reduction moving towards panic banishment.

What happens when faced with the feared object or situation?

Most experience almost immediate anxiety, which may move toward a panic attack.  What often follows are behaviors designed to avoid the fear, which inevitably begin to limit one’s freedom – sometimes to a very extreme extent.

 

What is a panic attack?

It begins as a quick, maybe unexpected surge of anxiety that stimulates adrenaline and other chemicals in your body, which an individual may misinterpret through thought as dangerous. This belief of "danger" then creates more anxious thoughts and symptoms leading to a panic attack.

Symptoms include many, but not necessarily all, of the following:

  • racing heartbeat
  • feeling like you cannot breathe
  • fear that you are losing control, going crazy or about to die
  • sweating, shaking, trembling
  • intense terror
  • tingling in the hands and feet
  • hot flashes or chills
  • nausea, stomach discomfort
  • chest pains
  • dizziness, feeling lightheaded
  • feeling detached from reality or oneself

The usual pattern of response is to fear having another attack. You may even begin to avoid places and situations where the attack occurred. Makes sense, right? After all, you're human like the rest of us and you don't like to feel out of control. Unfortunately, avoidance only serves to encourage more panic attacks. They can even spread to other areas of your life like a raging brushfire. This can and will shut down your life if you let it.

You may be happy to know that the experience of this anxiety cannot hurt you (yes, I know it feels like it can). In fact, by reading this now, you are proving that the previous anxiety attack you experienced did you no lasting physical or psychological harm -- aside, of course, from its resulting feeling of fear and harsh blow to your confidence.

Am I the only person who has panic attacks?

Absolutely not! According to The National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 6 million Americans are struggling with consistent, intense panic attacks in any one year.

What causes panic attacks?

Although they may feel like they come "out of nowhere", panic is due to unconscious thoughts or feelings in response to distressing anxiety that sets you on course for an attack. Panic attacks usually arrive at a very stressful point in one's life or a time where stress has been steadily increasing.

Ultimately, it is one's thoughts that create a panic attack as one incorrectly responds to the anxious sensations of adrenaline and other chemicals in the body by labeling them alarmingly dangerous.

At our center, we help you create a new relationship with anxious feelings and their uncomfortable sensations so that you can begin to identify when you are in actual danger and when you're not.  This marks the beginning of panic reduction moving towards panic banishment.

 

What is a phobia?

A phobia is a frequently occurring fear of a specific object or situation that one, generally, knows is irrational.

What is CBT?

CBT stands for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and is the only proven form of treatment for anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, OCD, phobias, social anxiety and more.

CBT is focused on modifying destructive patterns of behavior and thought with a variety of strategies taught and assigned for practice. One main CBT foundation is that if you change your behavior, your thinking can change and if you change the way you think, your behavior can change.

CBT is an interactive process between psychologist and client. Sometimes, it even involves trips outside of the office with your psychologist to face anxiety in real-life situations with new skills and strategies learned.

First, symptoms are assessed.

Second, strategies are taught in order to obtain skills in handling anxiety. Homework assignments are a common feature.

 

What is Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia?

Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia is defined by at least a month of recurring unexpected panic attacks with a fear of having more, a tendency to avoid situations or experiences where panic attacks have occurred leading to a lack of freedom, and an extreme concern about what the panic attacks might imply or result in (ex. loss of control, sanity, death).

Panic Disorder can be experienced with or without Agoraphobia.  Agoraphobia is often considered to be attached to those that are housebound and is thought of as a fear of wide open spaces due to the prefix.  However, this is not completely accurate.  While it is true that people with Agoraphobia can become housebound, there is a big range when this phobia is present.  The real experiential definition is an intense fear of being trapped without an escape or perceived help available.  Those with Agorapahobia often fear crowds, elevators, traffic, flying, being on a van or bus and any small space that could contribute to feeling trapped.

 

What is the best form of treatment for a phobia?

The preferred treatment as proven through research over many years is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy focused on the strategy of Exposure and Response Prevention.

 

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