There is help for people with panic disorder. In fact, it is one of the most treatable anxiety disorders.
The first step is to go to a Family Physician to talk about your symptoms. The practitioner will likely ask you to do a behavioral health assessment and possibly a physical exam to make sure that another physical problem isn't causing the symptoms.
Make sure your practitioner uses a multi-disorder behavioral health assessment tool and not a single disorder tool. It is important your practitioner gets a global overview of your behavioral health and does not limit their assessment to a narrow set of questions as is often found in a basic psychological stress scale.
Once you have completed your assessment, your practitioner should ask you more detailed questions based on the results, arrive at a diagnosis and diskuss with you next steps which may involved psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both.
When chemicals in the brain are not at a certain level it can cause a person to have panic disorder. That is why medications often help with symptoms because they help the brain chemicals stay at the correct levels.
Practitioners may prescribe medication to help reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks, but they may take several weeks to start working. Only a medical practitioner (a Family Physician or psychiatrist) can prescribe medications.
Different types of medications are used to treat panic disorder. They are antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and beta blockers. These same medications are used to treat other types of disorders as well.
Practitioners also may refer people with panic disorder to undertake psychotherapy or “talk therapy” to help them learn how to control the symptoms of a panic attack. Therapy can be undertaken with a licensed social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. This treatment can help people with panic disorder feel less anxious and fearful.
There is no cure for panic disorder, but most people can live a normal life when they receive treatment with medicine and/or therapy. To improve treatment, scientists are studying how well different medicines and therapies work. Click here for more on Anxiety Disorder Research.
Who pays for treatment?
In Australia you can receive ………… up to X sessions of … if you are referred by your Family Physician with a Family Physician Mental Health Treatment Plan.
Some insurance plans in Australia cover treatment for anxiety disorders so you should check with your own insurance company to find out about coverage details.
For people who don't have insurance, state governments may offer treatment at a clinic or health center.