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Anxiety Attack/Panic Attack

Heart palpitations…shaking…difficulty breathing…feel like you are dying. Are you having a heart attack? These are actually the symptoms of a panic attack. Thousands of people go to the ER each year believing they are having a heart attack only to find they are experiencing an anxiety attack.

Panic attacks, also known as anxiety attacks, are extremely scary. They are a more severe from of anxiety and these attacks may seem to come out of the blue. People may be confused about what they are experiencing. Here are potential symptoms as per the DSM, the diagnostic manual for mental health disorders:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying

Not only is it difficult at times to recognize our own anxiety it is also difficult at times to recognize that a friend or family member may also be suffering. Here is an example; ABC News Anchorman Dan Harris suffered an attack on national television:

During my initial meetings with clients I typically ask if the person has had problems with panic disorder. Some clients say “I’m not sure…maybe.” Often times those clients have not had an actual panic attack. Those who have had a real panic attack definitively say “Yes” as they felt the sense of “impending doom” that can be associated with panic.

Many experience a level of anxiety on a daily basis but it is when our anxiety inhibits our ability to perform our best whether that be on the athletic field, at work, school or in our personal lives that we need to seek help. Oftentimes clients may be embarrassed to admit how much anxiety is affecting them but there is hope especially for those who are willing to be an active participant in their coaching/counseling sessions.

Over my 15 years of practice I have effectively helped many clients who suffered from Anxiety/Panic attacks. Panic attacks are an intense yet brief period of anxiety, lasting around 15 minutes although there can be a less intense level of residual anxiety. I use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or (CBT) to help adolescents and adults overcome different types of anxiety. By utilizing CBT I work with you to regain your sense of control. I will teach you skills that can be applied to a particular situation or these skills may be applied in a more general way across different situations. CBT is a very methodical approach and one in which you will be involved so that you will be able to understand, identify and change destructive thinking patterns in your life. I will give you the skills during our meeting times and you will be assigned “homework” to practice the different techniques we have discussed and practiced in our sessions. People typically see positive, effective results within the first few sessions and those who are compliant with the program typically have better and quicker results.

Don’t like anxiety and panic attacks hurt your relationships, sport/athletic life, or career. If you are ready to get started with your panic treatment, please call me at 678-462-3833.

Dr. Rick Van Haveren

3516 Old Milton Parkway

Alpharetta, GA  30005





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