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Anxiety Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth WA

William Macaulay

Phone 0401 316 977

for enquiries or appointments

Panic Attack Counselling Perth


Experience frequent panic attacks? These intense bursts of anxiety can be overwhelming. I offer anxiety counselling and psychotherapy services conveniently located in Perth, catering to individuals seeking effective strategies to combat and manage this debilitating condition.

What are panic attacks?

Up to 40% of Australians will experience a panic attack at some point in their lives. A panic attack is a sudden surge of intense fear or terror without the presence of danger. They can last from a few minutes to half an hour. While panic sensations are a natural response to danger, panic attacks are usually out of proportion to any actual danger you might be facing. The belief that you are in danger may result in increased anxiety, which then leads to more sensations and more catastrophic thoughts, creating a vicious cycle between bodily sensations, distorted thoughts, and anxiety, which can rather quickly increase the unpleasant sensations experienced during the panic attack.


People who regularly experience repeated and unexpected panic attacks may experience some of the following impacts on their lives:

  • The avoidance of certain activities or situations to minimise or avoid the possibility of a future attack.

  • Ongoing anxiety about experiencing further panic attacks and their consequences.

  • Other complications such as phobias, depression, substance misuse, self-harm or suicidal ideation.


Panic Attack Symptoms


A panic attack is usually accompanied by some or many of the following physical sensations and feelings:

Physical sensations:

  • pounding heart

  • dizziness, faintness or light-headedness

  • difficulty breathing

  • chest pains

  • numbness or pins and needles

  • sweating

  • trembling or shaking

  • nausea

  • choking sensations

  • increased heart rate

  • feeling faint

  • hot flushes or chills

Feelings of:

  • being out of control

  • dying

  • going crazy

  • being detached from yourself or your surroundings


It is important to note that despite many of the above physical sensations being real they will quickly subside. Catastrophic thinking or exaggerated interpretations of the physical sensations may escalate them and cause a prolonged panic attack.


Causes of Panic Attacks


While the exact causes are unclear, there is evidence to suggest that they appear to be connected to a combination of:

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Extreme ongoing and unrelenting stress

  • Stressful life events such as sexual abuse, loss of employment or bereavement

  • Reaction to a traumatic event

  • Personality factors such as having a highly anxious temperament

  • Anxiety sensitivity - a tendency for a person to fear anxiety-related body sensations

  • Physical illness


Strategies to Manage a Panic Attack


Techniques to ease your panic attack, or to prevent one from getting worse:

  • Breathe in as slowly and as deeply as you can, and exhale completely

  • Breathing into a paper bag for a short while may be helpful

  • Challenge your fear by asking yourself "Am I in any immediate danger?"

  • Don’t fight your feelings - the attack will more than likely pass in a few minutes

  • It may be helpful to remind yourself that you are in this anxious state "for now" and not forever

  • Avoid self-medicating - get appropriate medical advice before taking any medication


Addressing Recurrent Panic Attacks


The above strategies to manage a panic attack may help you calm down in a crisis. However, they don’t address the underlying causes. The following strategies may help reduce the underlying causes of panic attacks.


Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT):

CBT is recognised as the most effective type of therapy for most anxiety disorders. CBT aims to help you understand that your negative thinking patterns and irrational beliefs about your symptoms will significantly impact your experience. With the guidance of a mental health professional, these thinking patterns and beliefs are challenged and replaced by more rational and helpful ones, which then, in turn, reduces your anxiety symptoms and experience.


Exposure therapy:

Exposure therapy empowers you to face your fears in a safe and controlled setting. By gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to the feared object or situation, either in your imagination or reality, you gain a sense of control. As you confront your fear without harm, your anxiety gradually diminishes.



Daily relaxation techniques may help to keep you calm and relaxed, such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and light exercises like walking or yoga.

Other Featured Articles About Anxiety

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Perth Counselling for Panic Attacks


If you're dealing with panic attacks or have any concerns from this article, reach out to schedule an appointment. Counselling is highly effective in managing panic attacks, and early treatment is recommended. Don't let this debilitating condition hinder your ability to live a fulfilling and enriched life.

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