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Panic Disorder Treatment in Austin: How It Works


Panic disorder is characterized by panic attacks: provoked or unprovoked episodes of sheer panic and fear, often presenting with hyperventilation, sweating, hives, and other signs of extreme stress.

Key Takeaways

  • Panic disorder affects millions of people and manifests with physical symptoms.
  • It’s very treatable with the right course of therapy and medication.
  • Austin is home to dozens of great treatment options for panic disorder.

Luckily, panic disorder is very treatable. With the right therapist, panic disorder patients often find relief after a brief course of 8 to 12 sessions.

Let's talk about panic disorder treatment options in Austin, and help you narrow down your search for the right treatment for you.

Panic Disorder Treatment Information on this page:

First Things First: Do I have panic disorder?

Can panic disorder be cured?

Panic Disorder Treatment Options in Austin

How long does therapy for panic disorder take to work?

Treatment for Panic Disorders in Austin: Williamsburg Therapy Group

First Things First: Do I have panic disorder?

While only a licensed therapist or psychologist can diagnose panic disorder, you can tell whether you may have it by reading the symptoms below and determining if they sound like you.

Those with a panic disorder experience sudden and controllable fear and severe anxiety, often along with the following symptoms:

  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Chills or shivering
  • Hives

If you have episodes that sound like this, first talk to a physician to rule out any physical reasons for them.

If a doctor cannot determine a cause, then it's time to talk to a therapist or psychologist.

Can panic disorder be cured?

Panic disorder isn't really something that can be "cured" per se. Medical science needs to understand more about panic disorder (and indeed, all other mental illnesses) before cures can be developed.

As it stands now, mental disorders in general can't be permanently cured, but they are very, very treatable. Panic disorder is no exception.

In fact, 70% to 80% of people with panic disorder have no panic after a course of CBT.

Couple that with medication, and your chances of making a long term recovery are pretty great.

Definition Template (7)

Panic Disorder Treatment Options in Austin

There are several ways to treat panic disorder in Austin. A few of the most common are listed below:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Panic Disorder

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is sort of the "go-to" for therapists when treating panic disorder.

It's evidence-based, rooted in science, and about 80% effective without requiring medication. Those are pretty good odds.

CBT for panic disorder usually involves a number of steps, including:

  • Identifying external factors that may be contributing to panic attacks
  • Identifying internal thought patterns that may be inducing panic
  • Addressing underlying trauma or circumstance that might be leading to panic attacks
  • Assessing co-morbid mental health conditions, like depression or bipolar disorder
  • Restructuring internal negative thought patterns to be healthier and more constructive

Aside from these, a therapist may also instruct people with panic disorder on coping skills.

While you should check with a licensed therapist before attempting to self-remedy a panic disorder, here are some of the more common methods for stopping a panic attack:

  • Deep breathing: This is the easiest way to try and stave off a panic attack. Giving your brain more oxygen helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming you down.
  • Reduce stimulation: Often, a panic attack can be worsened by excessive stimulation - that is, light, sound, and things touching you. Try to head into a quiet room and close your eyes.
  • Practice mindfulness and self-awareness: Simply recognizing that you're having a panic attack can help reduce physical symptoms.

Of course, if you are having a panic attack, the best course of action is to get in touch with a licensed therapist or psychologist. If symptoms become unbearable and you feel as though you are a danger to yourself or others, call 911 immediately.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

Psychiatry and Medication for Panic Disorder

Sometimes, a case of panic disorder is severe enough to warrant medication management.

Here are some of the most common medications issued by psychiatrists for panic disorder.

  • SSRIs - Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like fluoxetine and sertraline
  • SNRIs - Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like extended-release venlafaxine (the only FDA approved SNRI for panic disorder.)
  • Benzodiazepines - Think Klonopin and Xanax. Benzodiazepines are usually used to stave off symptoms while an SSRI is "ramping up" over the course of a few weeks.

In general, therapy is the first step in resolving the symptoms of a panic disorder. If that doesn't work, medication may be issued alongside.

For most patients, CBT is enough to greatly reduce or even eliminate symptoms - but others may require additional help depending on the severity of their symptoms.

How long does therapy for panic disorder take to work?

There are patients for whom therapy alone is not enough to overcome their panic disorder. However, most patients find that within 8 to 12 sessions, their panic attacks are reduced both in intensity and frequency.

Sessions of CBT for panic disorder usually last 50 minutes to an hour and typically cost anywhere from 200 to 300 dollars. Some therapists take insurance, while others don't.

Finding The Right Therapist for You

Finding the right therapist to treat your panic disorder requires a balance of research and trial-and-error.

First and foremost, make sure you trust your therapist. You may be able to determine this after one session, but it can also be clear after just an initial phone call whether or not you will be able to build rapport with your therapist.

If it doesn't feel like a match, try someone else!

The second thing to check for is location. Many therapists offer online therapy, while others only take patients in person. The easier your therapist is to access, the more likely you are to attend every session, which increases your odds of improving.

Third, check your therapist's credentials. There are many types of therapists, with the highest trained being clinical psychologists. Master's level therapists, such as licensed professional counselors and licensed clinical social workers, are also true therapists. Shy away from anyone without letters after their name.

Treatment for Panic Disorders in Austin: Williamsburg Therapy Group

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, our team of clinical psychologists maintains a high-degree of expertise in anxiety and panic disorders.

If you live in Austin and are experiencing panic attacks, please give us a call or schedule an appointment online. With the right therapist, you may be able to feel relief, improve your quality of life, and get the peace of mind you deserve.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

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