Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD

Panic Attacks

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Panic Attacks services offered in Panama City Beach, FL, Rockville Centre, NY and Union City, NJ

Panic attacks are very unpleasant.  Sudden surges of anxiety accompanied by sweating, fear, trembling seem to come out of the blue. If you are plagued by panic attacks, visit psychologist Dr. LaBarbera at his office in Rockville Centre, New York, or via telehealth services from Rockville Centre and Union City, New Jersey. He specializes in diagnosing and treating individuals with panic attacks and advising how to best approach elminating them. Call Dr LaBarbera, PhD, or schedule an appointment online.

Panic Attacks Q & A

What are panic attacks?

Panic attacks are highly distressing spikes of anxiety. Some attacks seem “out of the blue ” with no identifiable cause or seem to occur in particular situations, such as while driving, in a public place, or on public transportation.

After a panic attack, some people develop anticipatory anxiety and worry about having another attack, restricting their activities. They may avoid certain places, stay at home, and self-monitor for signs of another attack.

What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

Panic attacks can include physical symptoms such as heart palpitations or difficulty breathing, so a person mistakenly fears that they are having a heart attack. 

Other symptoms may include:

  • Sweating and trembling
  • Trembling
  • Feeling that things seem unreal
  • Hyperventilation (rapid over breathing)
  • Intense Fear 
  • The feeling of losing control or going crazy
  • Rapid, pounding heartbeat
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities
  • Fear of having a heart attack

Psychotherapy has proved effective in diminishing the intensity and frequency of panic attacks and reducing anticipatory fear of having another attack.

What causes panic attacks?

Panic attacks may exist alone or as part of an anxiety disorder. They may occur at times of higher stress or with people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or a history of trauma.

Attacks may be triggered by substances, particularly stimulants as common as caffeine, or by a terrifying situation such as a natural disaster or combat. A genetic predisposition to panic attacks is likely.

How are panic attacks diagnosed and treated?

Panic attacks can occur alone or in combination with other disorders. Dr. LaBarbera can recognize the components of your anxiety attack, whether there are particular triggers if you have any specific variant of a panic attack, whether previously diagnosed medical conditions that might have triggered the attack and the best treatment.

Psychological testing also can provide background to target treatment most efficiently and economically. 

Further, Dr. LaBarbera can help you manage work stress, relationship difficulties, grief, and physical factors that increase your vulnerability to panic attacks.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavior therapy are evidenced-based treatments for panic attacks and help you control your anxiety rather than allow it to control you  

Call Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD, today or book an appointment online for expert panic attack treatment.