Is this the right course for me?
This course is perfect for you if you have recurring and regular panic attacks, often for no apparent reason.
What is panic?
Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times during their lifetime. It's a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations.
However, for someone with panic disorder, feelings of anxiety, stress and panic occur regularly and at any time.
A panic attack occurs when your body experiences a rush of intense psychological (mental) and physical symptoms.
You may experience an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension and anxiety. As well as these feelings, you may also have physical symptoms such as a pounding heartbeat; feeling faint; sweating; nausea (feeling sick); chest pains; feeling unable to breathe; shaky limbs, or feeling like your legs are turning to jelly; feeling like you’re not connected to your body.
During a panic attack you might feel very afraid and experience thoughts such as ‘I’m losing control’ ‘I’m going to faint’ ‘I’m having a heart attack’ ‘I’m going to die’.
In turn, these symptoms might lead you act (or behave) in the following ways:
- Escape the situation you are in
- Avoid similar situations in the future
- Rely on particular coping strategies or ‘safety’ behaviors to get you through, such as always carrying a bottle of water, chewing gum, sitting down…
Panic attacks can be very frightening and intense, but they're not dangerous. An attack won't cause you any physical harm, and it's unlikely that you'll be admitted to hospital if you've had a panic attack.
You might have a good understanding about likely situations or places that can trigger an attack for you or you might feel that your attacks come without warning and happen at random. Experiencing a panic attack during the night can be particularly frightening, as you may feel confused about what’s happening.
What will I learn?
This course can teach you:
- That anxiety and panic are normal, but can become problematic if we don’t know how to manage them
- Strategies that will help you to do the things that you can’t do right now – help you to face your fears and overcome avoidance
- Strategies to help change the way you respond to anxiety provoking thoughts
- Steps you can take to help reduce panic attacks recurring in the future, and what to do if they do re-occur (relapse prevention)
- That other people feel the same way, and you are not alone
What does the course cover?
Session 1 – What is panic?
- Information and education around panic attacks
- What keeps panic going (known as the ‘vicious cycle’)
- Recording your panic attacks.
Session 2 – Challenging thoughts
- Challenging how we think about our physical symptoms
- Introducing a technique called exposure (looking at beginning to face up to the things you have been avoiding).
Session 3 – Facing your fears
- Looking at exposure in more depth.
- Planning how you can begin to overcome avoidance.
Session 4 – Review and repeat
- Review how exposure has gone for you
- The next steps in planning your exposure tasks
- Looking at breathing and relaxation exercises.
Session 5 – Review and relapse prevention
- Review of what you have learned
- Helping to prevent panic coming back.
How does the course run?
- We invite you to attend 5 sessions of the Panic course
- We will be meeting once a week for 1hr 15 minutes (same day and time each week)
- You will not be pressured in to share any of your difficulties with other course participants if you don’t want to
- We expect around 15 -25 people to be on each course
- Between each session you will be asked to go away and practice a skill that will help you to better recognise and manage your panic
- You will be expected to attend all 5 sessions in order to gain full benefit from the course.
- Please be aware that if you miss 2 sessions of the course, you will be discharged from Talk Liverpool back to the care of your GP.