In this two part series, you’ll find information that will empower you to heal from Panic Disorders. Traditional mental health treatment methods will also be shared and they are not mutually exclusive. If you’re a teen with Panic Disorder, you’ll find ways that you can help yourself, while also seeing a therapist, and if necessary, taking medication.
If you’re a teen with Panic Disorder, it’s likely getting in the way of your life! Often, teens have persistent fears about having additional attacks, especially in public settings, such as with your friends! Typically, those with this disorder are extremely anxious and fearful, primarily because of the inability to predict when the next attack will occur. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 2.3% of 13 to 18 year olds have been diagnosed with teen Panic Disorder. Adolescents who suffer from this disorder are more likely to also suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts, and addiction.
Panic Disorder is a mental health condition in which an individual experiences sudden and repeated attacks of fear, which are often accompanied by a feeling of being out of control. Uncomfortable physical sensations, such as a pounding heart, sweating, weakness, dizziness, and numbness makes up the experience a panic attack. An intense worry about the next attack is a common symptom.
Fortunately, teens that suffer from Panic Disorder can be treated. Traditionally, if you were to go to a mental health professional, that treatment might include both medication and psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. And this treatment method has been used successfully to reduce the intensity of anxiety as well as the frequency of panic attacks. However, if you wanted to take some of your treatment into your own hands, you might try the following two things:
Learn as much as you can about teen Panic Disorder and anxiety. When you do this, you’ll begin to understand what’s going on inside of you and you’ll also likely experience insights and what you need to do to heal. This is incredibly empowering. When we go to a mental health professional, we essentially put our lives in their hands. However, when you learn about what’s going on, you’ll start to get a sense of what your unique needs are to grow and heal.
One thing you might learn, for example, is that panic is also known as “fight or flight”. It’s physiological response for survival. A good analogy for the panic response is a fire alarm. It’s meant to let you know that you’re in danger. However, what’s essential to know is that even though it’s loud and unpleasant, but the fire alarm itself is never dangerous.
Fear of panic is at the root of panic disorder. As you really begin to learn that no part of the panic response is ever harmful or dangerous, the fear of panic begins to subside. And then, you’ll be less and less bound by the panic experience.
Many books include excellent explanations of the nature of panic and panic disorder. Among them are:
- Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic: Workbook by David Barlow and Michelle Craske (see especially chapters 1, 3 and 4)
- Overcoming Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia by Elke Zuercher-White (see especially chapters 1 and 5)
- Panic Attacks Workbook (2004) by David Carbonell
The next article of this series will provide the second essential task to taking your healing of Panic Disorder into your own hands. In addition, the traditional treatment methods for Teen Panic Disorder will also be discussed.
By Robert Hunt
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