Panic Disorder Treatment and Stress Management: The Role of Relaxation in Therapy for Panic Attacks

Panic Disorder

Using stress-management techniques can help alleviate some symptoms of Panic Disorder. Once Panic Disorder is diagnosed, stress management alone won’t cure it, but it is a necessary part of treatment.

One stress-management technique used in Panic Disorder treatment is deep breathing. Shallow breathing occurs when people are tense or panicked. In turn, shallow breathing causes physical symptoms that create more stress and can lead to a panic attack. Stopping this cycle by taking control of breathing can help stop a panic attack.

Prevent Panic Attacks with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

When a panic attack occurs the muscles are tense. The stress-management technique known as progressive muscle relaxation can help people relax their muscles at will. It is impossible to have a panic attack if the muscles are relaxed, so mastering this stress-management technique can help people with Panic Disorder prevent panic attacks.

Part of utilizing this skill involves letting go of the fear of panic attacks. If it is understood that the panic attack is not deadly or dangerous, the person with Panic Disorder will stop bracing against panic and will be able to release the muscles rather than flexing them. As a result, panic can be thwarted.

Massage Therapy, Meditation and Panic Attacks

Studies show that things like massage therapy, meditation, and other stress management techniques can help people with Panic Disorder or other Anxiety Disorders feel better. However, these techniques cannot cure the Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety and Panic Disorders involve more symptoms than stress and tension, and therefore a more well-rounded therapy to address those other symptoms is needed.

Cognitive Therapy as a Stress Management Technique

Stress-inducing patterns of thinking can be a cause of a build up of stress that contributes to the development of Panic Disorder in those who are predisposed to it. It can also cause the disorder to continue and worsen. Identifying and changing erroneous patterns of anxiety-producing thoughts are a significant part of the treatment for Panic Disorder.

Cognitive therapy is widely accepted as effective in helping people overcome many anxiety disorders. It is considered the first-line treatment of choice for Panic Disorder. It is used in combination with education, stress management, and behavior therapy, making up a comprehensive treatment program.

A comprehensive treatment program for Panic Disorder is laid out in the book by Edmund J. Bourne, The Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Workbook, published by New Harbinger Publications. Patients should seek out a therapist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral treatment of Panic Disorder. If there is no specialist in the area, patients can utilize this workbook with their therapist. No one element of the treatment in the book will cure the disorder. But applying the treatment in whole in a systematic way should yield results.

Stress management techniques can help people with Panic Disorder relax their minds and bodies to lessen stress, stop the cycle of panic attacks. However, treatment for this Anxiety Disorder should also involve cognitive-behavioral therapy, to address all of the other problems and causes of Panic Disorder.

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