Oxford CBT / Conditions / Panic attacks

Panic attacks

Panic attacks occur when your body experiences a rush of intense psychological and physical symptoms.

What are panic attacks?

Individual may feel an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension, and anxiety as well as physical symptoms and causes many reactions in your body including:

Some people that experience more than one panic attack and experience them frequently are suffering from something called a panic disorder. A panic disorder is recognised by frequent panic attacks, changes in behaviour and persistent anxiety.

Living with the threat of panic attacks can be extremely debilitating but is certainly treatable.

Different types of panic disorders

After experiencing one panic attack it can leave a lasting effect. If you experience frequent panic attacks, then it can take a toll on your emotions. The memory of the intense feeling and the way your body reacted at the time stays with you and then starts to negatively impact your self-esteem and confidence and disrupt your daily life. This can lead to different types of panic disorders:

Instead of feeling relaxed and like yourself in between your panic attacks you are constantly worried and fearful about when the next panic attack will come.

This is where you begin to avoid certain situations or even places that have brought on your panic attacks in the past. Phobic avoidance at its extreme can be known as agoraphobia.

A fear of being in a place and having a panic attack and not being able to escape therefore feeling embarrassed or a fear of being somewhere where you were unable to get help. This leads to you avoiding certain places or situations or social gatherings and you may only feel safe when you are in your own home.

When do panic attacks happen?

A panic attack can happen out of the blue and be unexpected due to having no trigger. They can occur as a one-time occurrence, but people tend to experience more than one episode. For some people, it can be a repeat situation (such as public speaking or being in a busy environment) that can bring on a panic attack. It is normally a situation that brings on the body’s fight or flight reaction.

Most panic attacks last between 5 to 20 minutes and your symptoms will be worse at about 10 minutes. Occasionally, if it is lasting longer than 20 minutes you may be having another panic attack or suffering from other symptoms of anxiety.


signs of a Panic disorder and symptoms

Treatment for Panic Disorders

Living with anxiety and suffering from panic attacks can be very difficult but there are treatments that can help yourself, or a loved one, feel better.

Lots of us can suffer from sudden feelings of being overwhelmed and episodes of feeling panicked. Some of us can let these feelings go easily and deal with the situations that have caused them. For others, those feelings of panic can become too much and too hard to deal with and social anxiety can have physical effects on our body, such as panic attacks, and our mental health.

Book an appointment

All clinicians at Oxford CBT practice Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or are Psychologists, providing evidence-based interventions and support for panic disorders and a range of other conditions for both young people and adults. If you would like more information, please visit our FAQ’s page or get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 01865 920077.

Clinicians who specialize in treating Panic Attacks

Take a self-assessment Screening

Complete screening questionnaire and we will connect you with a therapist according to your needs and requirement criteria.

Consider online therapy

Online sessions are a flexible alternative to in person sessions and have been proven to be equally as effective.

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What Our Patients Have To Say

15:37 01 Sep 23
Highly recommend Oxford CBT. Deepika was incredibly helpful when it came to invoices for insurance, and changing between in-person and online sessions. My weekly sessions with Ellie were always positive, she always validated my feelings and provided me with techniques to reach my therapy goals. She is brilliant, and I would recommend her to anyone who is looking for help.
Imogen GrahamImogen Graham
14:10 08 Jun 23
Can't speak highly enough of Oxford CBT. The booking/rearrangement process has been updated to be really easy, and the flexibility to be online or in-person is invaluable. I worked on my struggles with depression and anxiety with Ellen and then more extensively with Ellie and she helped me so much, even just session-to-session she's so friendly and warm and validating, I could laugh with her just as often as I could cry. When I started CBT I wasn't convinced that it would work but with the patience of Ellen and Ellie, I'm doing so much better. Thank you so much to them and to Oxford CBT.
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Elizabeth RoweElizabeth Rowe
16:39 03 Mar 21
I started doing weekly CBT sessions with Ellie in September 2020 at a time when I was suffering badly from insomnia and was looking for help dealing with anxiety and racing thoughts at night. Although we never met in person but only over Zoom, I felt as though Ellie and I had some really good conversations. She's an immensely sympathetic and caring person and she also has a good sense of humour. She really tried hard to help me talk through my problems and to give me CBT-based strategies for dealing with stress. I'd recommend her to anyone.
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I had my therapy sessions with Adam Lacey. He is just amazing. He has empowered me to be more in touch with myself and more true to my values. He has helped me to understand the matrix through which I see the world, in order to change it accordingly to what I really believe in and to what I find more useful in this moment of my life. He has helped to develop my compassionate side both towards myself and towards others. We’ve worked together on self criticism and self confidence. I felt Adam kept adapting the sessions according to my needs, mixing up different styles and supporting me holistically. I also brought to him themes that might be less common for therapists (such as polyamory) and he has made me feel welcomed, safe and supported.Skype sessions worked perfectly fine. Adam has been able to create a connection and make me feel completely comfortable with the online sessions.

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