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Adrian Tiller, MFT

When Paic Attacks

Have you had a panic or anxiety attack? Do you live in fear of having another one?

Laura had a panic attack on an airplane. Heart pounding. Dry mouth. Shortness-of-breath. She thought she was having a heart attack. She was confused and frightened since the feelings “came out of nowhere.” Because she was terrified of having another attack, she started avoiding elevators, buses, tunnels--any situation where she might feel closed in or trapped.

Her world got smaller and smaller as she avoided more and more triggers. She couldn't tell anyone what was going on, and over time, she grew isolated and depressed. Avoidance is a natural response to anxiety in its many forms. But avoidance perpetuates and intensifies fearful thoughts.

Anxious people think anxious thoughts. And anxious thoughts lead to more anxiety. One writer called adrenalin "boo juice" because we literally scare ourselves. In a panic attack, we mis-interpret the body's reactions and start thinking inaccurate, catastrophic thoughts. "I'm going to faint/ freakout/ have a heart attack." Our anxiety increases and increases--unless we know how to stop it.

Fortunately, there is a solution and a way out. Understanding how fearful thoughts create adrenalin. Learning how to recognize and change anxious self-talk. And moving through the fear in gradual, supervised and safe stages.

Treatment for anxiety disorders, using cognitive or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is very specific and includes learning new skills and ways to cope. Worry and anxiety are a part of life but they don't have to overwhelm us or limit our level of activity.  

Adrian Tiller, MFT, San Francisco

 Practice Locations
San Francisco, CA 94123
Novato, CA 94945

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Articles by Adrian are below

Porn and Panic
The Problem with Porn
When Paic Attacks

Self-esteem & Selfish Parents
Improving Self-esteem
Coping with Self-Absorbed Parents

Intimacy for Gay Men
Intimacy for Gay Men

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Last Modified: 4/2/2020  

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The information provided on this site is for educational or informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or behavioral health care advice. The information is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care provider. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your health.
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