Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and (609) 709-0009.Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72, on the road to Beach Haven West.After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Greater Coastal Realty. Then turn right and go past the Lyceum Gyn. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building. We. are the last office at the end. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.Weekend and evening office hours are avalable.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Emergency First Aid for Panic Attacks

One of the worst things about having a panic attack is how frightened you are about having the next one. This will show you how help stop a panic attack while it is in progress. Please pass this information on to anyone who might be able to use it. You will be able to  prevent  a lot of needless suffering!   It is not intended to serve as a substitute for guidance from a duly licensed mental health professional, who can help you to understand and deal with the problems which brought about the panic attack in the first place.,  



Emergency First Aid for Panic Attacks

The best thing you can do during a flashback or panic attack is to ground yourself in the present. You can do this by using each of your five senses:

1. Look around you and name five things that you can see.

2.  Look around you and name four things that you can hear,

3,  Look around you and name three things that you can touch.

4.  Look around you and name two things that you can smell.

5.  Look around you and name one thing that you can taste.


This should gradually cause the panic attack to recede as you pay attention to the things in your environment and not to the memories that keep trying to flood into your awareness.

Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." But once you have taken that step, you have to keep going. The two rules for success in any self-improvement program are: 1) Begin, and 2) Don't stop!  If you suffer from panic attacks, you should have plenty of motivation to follow both of these rules.

While methods of treatment may vary, It is generally agreed that the cognitive-behavioral approach is the fastest-growing orientation in psychology, with an ever-growing body of research behind it to demonstrate that it actually works. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapists frequently use a document called a panic attack thought record in order to help you get rid of the wrong ideas and wrong perceptions which may be contributing to your anxiety, and to alter the situations which trigger them. A summary of The "STOPP" technique, which has been referred to as "CBT in a nutshell," is available. There is also a free online self-help course and other materials on how to use them. You can make as many copies of the forms and other information as you want for your own use by using the print command on your computer. (Much of the foregoing information is available courtesy of www.getselfhelp.co.uk.)

Once you get the hang of it, if you continue to do these mental workouts as regularly as you would exercise physically in a gymnasium, you will eventually become able to think, feel, and act in a calm and confident manner in almost any situation. However, just as reading a book on surgery will not make you into a surgeon, and reading an exercise manual will not build muscles, merely reading a Blog posting on how to avoid having panic attacks will not be enough to enable you to teach you how to get rid of them. People who practice meditation, for example, do not hope to attain enlightenment merely by reading about it! By the same token, regular practice using the thought record for a variety of situations is the key to success. 
   
How to Identify a Panic Attack

How can you be sure that what you are concerned about is a panic attack and not something else? While an actual diagnosis should only be made by a duly-licensed mental halth professional, it may be helpful to knlow that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychitric Association (2013, p, 208) defines a panic attack as an abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes, and during which time four (or more) of the following symptoms occur:
  1. Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate.
  2. Sweating.
  3. Trembling or shaking.
  4. Sensatons of shortness of breath or smothering.
  5. Feelings of choking.
  6. Chest pain or discomfort.
  7. Nausea or abdominal distress.
  8. Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint.
  9. Chills or heat sensations.
  10. Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations).
  11. Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself).
  12. Fear of losing control or "going crazy."
  13. Fear of dying.
For at least a month after the panic attack, either or both of the following must take place: a) the person is extremely worried that either the panic attack itself, or what he or she was so afraid of while the panic attack was going on (losing control or going crazy), is going to happen again; and/or b) the person makes a "significant, maladaptive change in behavior"  in order to keep the panic attack from recurring, "such as avoiding exercise or unfamiliar situations." 

To meet the definition of a panic attack, the symptoms cannot result from a drug reaction, nor can they be a symptom of something else such as schizophrenia.x

Reference

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Arlingron, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

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