A Solid Treatment Plan for Panic Disorder is Critical to Reduce Episodes and Dealing with Panic Attacks
Panic disorder is a form of anxiety, managing panic attacks or the treatment for panic disorder is usually a combination of medication and behavioral modification. I usually prescribe an antidepressant medication, which is the FDA recommended treatment of Panic Disorder. I will usually prescribe a benzodiazepine for the first four weeks of antidepressant medication treatment as a way of taking the edge off of the situation while the drug is reaching it’s therapeutic level. The common benzodiazepine is Lonopin or Ativan, both of which offer immediate relief from the physical and emotional panic symptoms. Once the antidepressant has been in the patient’s system for about a month, it generally takes over for the benzodiazepine which can then be tapered off to avoid issues with addiction. Usually the less time and frequency a benzodiazepine is used, the less risk of addiction. Many panic disorder patients find it useful to carry one or two pills of the benzodiazepine in their wallet or purse for “just in case” situations. It seems that the mere presence of pill’s availability acts as a deterrent to future attacks, and is one way of coping with panic attacks. This in itself is a mini-treatment plan for panic disorder. I usually see the patient in conjunction with the patient seeing a therapist, who will help the patient with behavioral modification techniques. The combination treatment generally does wonders to help completely ameliorate panic attacks. I enjoyed the following article because it is brief but to the point in discussing the issue of dealing with panic disorder and offers an intuitive approach to a treatment plan for panic disorder.
Other Views on Good Treatment Plans for Panic Disorder and GAD
Panic Disorder Treatment: Options for Dealing with Panic Disorder
by Jon Mercer
Panic disorder is a psychological state in which the patient encounters frequent panic attacks along with changing behavior that persists about one month or longer. The patient develops internal phobic sensations, which instigate the person’s aversion to certain external things. While panic disorders treatment takes into account genetic & neurological factors, doctors also argue that phobias can be the result of misinterpretation of thoughts which mislead emotions.
We can take the example of a woman who feels scared in a lonely house in the absence of other family members can get panicked with a thought of being left alone. This may lead to palpitation, short breath, perspiration, increased thinking over the fear which in all adds to the anxiety. Another implication may be that the otherwise benevolent normal body behavior or sensation into panic attack, which is termed as a behavioral model. For instance, in anger when a person has accelerating heart rate, he may imagine that anxiety to feel it like a chest pain caused in cardiac arrest. These two instances exhibit a panicked patient’s phobia of sensations.
Panic Disorder Treatment Options
A Treatment Plan for Panic Disorder will vary depending on the patient’s present condition. The best treatment is decided after a mutual discussion between the doctor and patient. Panic disorders are emotionally destructive and can disrupt a patient’s thought process, making it difficult to get a good self-assessment of the extent of the panic disorder symptoms. Also, it’s often difficult to diagnose the root cause for these disorders as the symptoms that the patient complains about may be linked to other health issues. But with a correct diagnosis and a holistic treatment program, the patient can usually regain a healthy state of mind and a normal, functional life.
For some sufferers, panic attacks are chronic in nature and have unexpected occurrences which usually persist for 10 minutes or more. Their occurrence can be unpredictable and happen several times in a single week, or even a single day. The symptoms can also “mimic” real physical illnesses at times. For example, around 25% of patients who consult a doctor or visit an emergency room for chest pain, are actually suffering from a panic disorder which requires treatment.
Since phobias are normally the result of one’s psychological state, medical treatment for panic disorder is sometimes controversial. However, medications are routinely prescribed along with psychological counseling, especially when the patient’s situation is acute. Medication treatment for panic attacks can typically include anti-depressants (which aid to obstruct the symptoms), anti-anxiety pills (which help to control anxiety), however the patient might resort to these drugs out of fear of panic attacks and there is always the chance of developing a dependency, as well as experiencing side effects from medical treatments.
One popular type of medical panic disorder treatment, benzodiazepines (a drug usually associated with anti depressants), has proved to be a good option for many sufferers due to its high efficiency, immediate onset of effects, robustness and minimal side effects. However, it is rarely recommended as a long-term treatment because of dependency issues and extinction of the calming affect with continued use.
Of patients diagnosed with panic disorder in the US, approximately 26% suffer from agoraphobia, and 33% suffer from social phobia (or social anxiety). These panic disorder types hamper the patient’s social interaction and activities. In extreme cases, panic attacks can actually lead the patient to commit suicide. Hence panic disorder treatment has to be holistic, and an understanding, human approach can best help the sufferer to recover. Frequent counseling with a doctor or therapist is required when anti-anxiety drugs are used, as these treatments need to be carefully monitored.
Altogether, panic disorder treatment options should be assessed by the patient’s doctor or therapist, and it is important that the sufferer is treated as any other normal human being, as more than the medication itself, the approach and tone used by the practitioner also matters a great deal in recovery. Once a treatment plan for panic disorder has been established; often the plan alone will minimize a great percentage of future panic attacks.