Panic attacks hypnotherapy Warrington

Hypnotherapy for panic attacks in Warrington, Cheshire.

Panic attacks

If you are one of the many people afflicted by panic attacks, you will know just how debilitating they can be. Never knowing when they may strike and possibly avoiding placed you feel may invoke an attack. It goes without saying that the first port of call is to get checked out by your GP or other medical practitioner. Chemical or hormonal imbalances, medicines, alcohol consumption, worry, as well as other situational events could potentially cause panic attacks, which can be wrongly diagnosed for strokes, heart problems, or respiratory system complications so it is important that the symptoms be checked out before any therapy work is initiated.  Once this has been established and no medical problems indicated then therapy work can begin. It is important to establish whether you have had just the one panic attack or whether the attacks are more akin to panic disorder, where the sufferer experiences panic attacks more frequent in nature.

The American psychiatric association (APA) has defined the following diagnostic assessment for panic attacks, for which at least four of the symptoms must be present (APA, 2000):

  • Palpitations
  • Sweating, chills or hot flushes
  • Tremors
  • Muscular tension
  • Sensation of choking
  • Chest pains
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness, confusion, feeling of unreality
  • Fear of death or fear of losing control
  • Feeling that time has become distorted or slowed down

The APA also defines the typical panic attack as lasting no more than ten minutes. A panic attack that lasts longer than the ten minutes outlined above tends to be assessed a separate phenomenon at first, but subsequently is often diagnosed as an unusually long episode. The typical key stages of the onset of a panic attack are defined by the APA and outlined below (APA, 2000):

Hypnotherapy for panic attacks

  • A sudden feeling of fear, with little or no obvious stimulus.
  • The release of adrenaline (epinephrine) leading to the fight or flight response.
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), hyperventilation and dyspnea (difficulty in breathing).
  • A lack of no immediate threat leads to no strenuous activity resulting in a build-up of carbon dioxide in       the blood and lungs.
  • Blood Ph. levels change, leading to a range of symptoms, for example, tingling and dizziness etc.
  • High adrenaline levels also lead to vasoconstriction, increasing this sensation of dizziness.

Sometimes just being educated on the symptoms of a typical panic attack episode can help, it would be reassuring to let you know just how commonplace panic symptoms are. At the very least, 1 person in 10 encounters periodic panic attacks, which are characteristically induced by a stressful occurrence, but on other occasions they are triggered by unknown factors which can make the affliction all the more bewildering to the sufferer.

The volume of panic attacks that the individual has is determined by the degree of the condition. Some individuals may possibly have a couple of episodes on a monthly basis, whilst some might have numerous attacks per week. In the United Kingdom, somewhere around one person in 100 has panic disorder. It can also be rationalised that the affliction is roughly twice as prevalent in females as it is in males.

Although the symptoms of a panic attack are very disconcerting and frightening, they are not life threatening, it is just the bodies innate way of preparing itself for a fight or an escape. This is often called the ‘fight or flight response’.

Here comes the science bit…

This can be clarified as panic derived from a perceived threat. As soon as a threat is apparent, it’s existence is relayed from the sensory cortex of the brain to the brainstem via the hypothalamus, which in turn increases the rate of noradrenergic activity and elicits excess action in the locus coeruleus, which then results in the release of extra epinephrine (adrenaline) from the medulla of the adrenal glands. Now, this maybe a little bit too technical to impart, however it is important to explain that this reaction is the bodies inbuilt defence mechanism and as a result, is a perfectly natural occurring phenomena.

The direct result of this chain reaction is that a number of physical reactions take place, including the increase of heart and lung action; inhibition of digestive actions; constriction of blood vessels throughout the body but excluding the major muscle groups, which dilate increasing strength; dilation of the pupils; and the narrowing of the peripheral vision (tunnel vision). All of the above physical reactions are critical, to varying degrees, in readying the body to face the fight or to flee the scene, and are present in panic attacks. For this reason, panic attacks are generally understood to be the direct result of the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response being triggered incorrectly, and once this occurs the lack of the need to utilise this extra adrenaline causes the body to react in a distressing way. In most cases, the fight or flight effects on the body start to reduce after between ten and thirty minutes, after this time and with no immediate threat, the body starts to return to normal. In essence this is largely due to the fact that the body is only able to sustain this condition for a short period of time before it becomes totally exhausted.

Using Hypnotherapy for panic attacks can help you learn to relax and through the use of hypno-analysis, together we can work through the triggers and root cause behind the problem. If you are affected by Panic Disorder, you are not alone and it is a condition that can be addressed. Call evolution Hypnotherapy and ask to speak to our therapist Chris. This is the first step to the freedom you desire.

If you require further information on panic attacks, you can find out more here.

Image: Stuart Miles /

Evolution Hypnotherapy, 64 Shackleton Close, Old Hall, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 9QE – 01925 354 820