Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is when someone experiences recurrent panic attacks without a clear cause. This can lead to a relatively constant state of fear of having another panic attack, leading to a cycle whereby the fear of having a panic attack can cause more panic attacks.

Overview

Panic disorder is when someone experiences recurrent panic attacks without a clear cause. This can lead to a relatively constant state of fear of having another panic attack, leading to a cycle whereby the fear of having a panic attack can cause more panic attacks.

Causes & Symptoms

Causes of Panic Disorder

The exact cause of panic disorder is unknown, but there are factors that have been found to be linked to the onset, although these do not apply to everyone:

  • History or current experience of anxiety.
  • Stressful or traumatic life event (e.g. bereavement, divorce, childbirth).
  • Family history of panic attacks (may reflect a genetic component).
  • Use of stimulants (e.g. caffeine, cocaine).
  • Medication withdrawal.
  • Imbalance of chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters).

 

Panic Disorder Symptoms

The two categories of symptoms of panic disorder are the symptoms of the panic attacks themselves, and the associated symptoms surrounding having them recurrently without cause. Be mindful that everyone experiences panic attacks slightly differently, so the below list is exhaustive rather than definitive:

Panic attack symptoms (usually last 5-20 minutes):

  • Pounding heartbeat.
  • Shortness of breath, choking feeling, or hyperventilation.
  • Sweating.
  • Faintness or dizziness.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Nausea.
  • Chest or stomach pain.
  • Temperature change (hot or cold).
  • Numbness or pins and needles.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ears).
  • Urge to use the toilet.
  • Feeling of dread.
  • Feeling of detachment from one’s own body.
  • Tingling.
  • Feeling of loss of control.

 

Associated symptoms:

  • Agoraphobia (fear of situations or places that may cause panic, or where escape or help may be difficult).
  • Significant worry surrounding experiencing further panic attacks.
  • Avoidance of places or situations where you have previously had a panic attack.
  • State of anxiety and tension due to fear of future panic attacks.

Treatments

The treatments and support we provide

We provide a very comprehensive and holistic range of interventions and support. This means we are able to find the mechanisms for recovery, which will be different for each patient. Everyone will have a highly personalised treatment programme. 

The programme is reviewed every week by the patient’s multi-disciplinary team (MDT), encompassing the different professionals involved in their care. Our MDT consists of: consultant psychiatrist, psychotherapist/psychologist, family therapist and occupational therapist. The MDT is at the centre of our approach, ensuring all the progress made across the programme is understood, built upon and applied. Our model provides consistency and continuity. 

Individual programmes are tailor-made to each patient’s needs and progress. The following provides a guide to the typical building blocks of our day treatment programmes, all of which include a number of weekly 1:1 sessions with members of the MDT.

  Full-day Programme Half-Day Programme
Days  Monday to Friday Monday to Friday
Hours 7 - 8 hours per day 4 - 5 hours per day
Programme length Up to 4 weeks Up to 4 weeks
Detailed group therapy 5 - 6 sessions 3 - 4 sessions
Daily meals Lunch/snacks Lunch/snacks

We provide the following therapies and interventions. These may be delivered on a 1:1 or group basis by members of the MDT.

Psycho-education Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) Mindfulness
Relapse prevention Self-esteem / resilience  Movement
Peer Led Support Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Food preparation / cooking
Applied relaxation Art / drama Interpersonal therapy
Social issues Family therapy Schema

Treatments are available at the following locations

Schoen Clinic Chelsea

Our Address
Schoen Clinic
Centre for Mental Health Chelsea
13a Radnor Walk
Chelsea
London SW3 4BP
General Telephone Enquiries
0203 146 2300
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