Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within 10 minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms.”

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations or shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Feelings of unreality or depersonalization
  • Fear of losing control or ‘going crazy’
  • Fear of dying

What causes a panic attack?

Saxbe’s research has shown that scientists believe panic attacks stem from the ‘fight or flight’ system gone amiss, often triggered by life stressors or traumatic events. Per the Anxiety and Phobia workbook, “Within your brain, panic attacks are more likely to occur when this entire system is overly sensitized, perhaps from having been previously activated too frequently, too intensely, or both. Thus, the neurological basis for panic is not exactly a ‘chemical imbalance,’ as your doctor may have told you, but an overly sensitized ‘fear system’…”

Throughout the pages of the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, it is surmised that ‘panic is an entirely natural bodily reaction that simply occurs out of context.’ This reaction arises out of the instinctual fight-or-flight response. When an individual experiences an impromptu attack, the same physiological symptoms of a life altering situation are activated within the individual. As was the case with Stacey who began to feel like she needed to flee when we began speaking of her upcoming nuptials. Through her work in hypnotherapy she could trace her feelings back to childhood. She could regress back to the source of her anxieties.

Hypnotherapy is a unique modality of treatment

According to the research of The Wellness Institute, “Back then” is “now” for most people. As a panic attack begins to unfold, the work of hypnotherapy helps a client regress back to the age where the nervous system began to first experience these fears and lacked the ability to complete the natural response. With the utilization of the age regression, the client can return to the moments of terror, fear, shame, grief, etc. to create a corrective experience. Hypnotherapy is unique because it touches both the client’s somatic experience and the emotional, using both to locate the source of the pattern and to heal it.

The Mind/Body Connection

The mind/body connection allows clients to begin noticing emotions that are trapped in the physical body. Resisting or fighting the symptoms of a panic attack can often make them worse. If an individual is living solely out of the conscious mind, a panic attack throws them off balance because there is no ‘rational’ reason for this experience to be occurring. This is where the brilliance of hypnotherapy steps in. Hypnotherapy invites clients into their sub-conscious mind where healing, insights, spiritual gifts, and amazing resource states exist. When a client is in the midst of a panic attack, their physical symptoms are occurring on a grand scale and this signals them to assume that they are in danger. It can become a snowball of physiological symptoms. Hypnotherapy creates an environment for clients to explore the severity and frequency of their panic attacks.

Rich Buckley's Comments: Different approaches seem to work for different people. I like to integrate all that I can in the short while I have you in session, including your dreams, regression hypnosis, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, and when it seems doable, finding the underlying cause. Often there seems to be an identifiable related underlying cause. Once that cause is found and faced, you seem to heal yourself quickly. 


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