Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Panic Attacks

Model of Panic Attacks

The cognitive model of panic claims that panic attacks arise when patients become anxious about the actual bodily sensations of anxiety itself. For example, in a panic state, a normal anxiety sensation is breathlessness. People can misinterpret this as “my breathing will stop !”, “I am going to die !”, “I will lose control !” or, “I am going insane !”

Stimuli of panic attacks may be external (such as a situation in which an attack has previously been experienced ) or, internal (thoughts, images, or bodily sensations). Where these stimuli are perceived as a threat, a state of apprehension results and the bodily sensations are misinterpreted in a catastrophic fashion and apprehension is reinforced and gets worse, building up to a panic attack.

Another important factor maintaining a panic disorder, is avoidance.

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