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  • BY CÓILÍN Ó BRAONÁIN

What Are Panic Attacks?

Panic or anxiety attacks are sudden unexplained bouts of fear, which cause the person to perspire, shake and want to escape the immediate environment.

There may also be heart palpitations and chest pain, which are symptoms that can be confused with a heart attack. Consequently, panic attacks (especially the first one) can be very frightening, and medical attention may be sought.


The cause of anxiety attacks can be difficult to ascertain, but Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective type of treatment, nonetheless. CBT helps the client learn to manage anxiety and reduce the impact of an attack. Early warning signs can by noticed and relaxation exercises can prevent the anxiety attack developing further.


It is also sometimes possible to determine the cause of panic attacks by noticing patterns in the antecedents to attacks. That is, noticing what happened before the attacks. Antecedents can give clues to possible underlying emotion issues.


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