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Woman holding forehead needing anxiety therapy to stop panic attacks.

Dr. Elizabeth MacGregor
Ed.D, LPC
drmacgregor@montvillecounseling.com

Theravive Counselor

GEORGE MACGREGOR
DCSW, MSW, LCSW, CAM-II
georgemacgregor@montvillecounseling.com

Most Insurances Accepted, including Medicare

Anxiety and Stress Awareness

High Anxiety

woman experiancing anxietyAnxiety is an alarm mechanism for the threat of danger. This automatic effort of the body to protect itself is called a defense mechanism. This essential process has protected us from harm since the beginning of time. And it continues to protect us from these threats even in this busy world in which we live.

To understand anxiety, you first need to see how throughout your life, you learn from experience and develop concepts of what is true, correct and valid. And then all of these concepts make up your basic beliefs. Your own personal basic beliefs are a filter for every sensation that you see, hear, taste, feel or smell (or recall from memory).

When a current experience (a stressor) is contrary to your beliefs, you perceive this as a threat. That sets off the body’s alarm mechanism and then adrenaline is released. This defense mechanism usually shows up in the form of “fight or flight.” And then suddenly you are in a state of anxiety, often leading to anxiety attacks (often called “panic attacks.”) What causes a panic attack is usually our own beliefs buried in our subconscious.

woman experiancing anxietyThe symptoms of panic attacks are can be scary. In the extreme, they can mimic a heart attack which can feel even more like a threat leading to a vicious cycle of more anxiety. Often the person experiencing the panic disorder symptoms feel s hot and their heart races and chest may hurt.  They may have difficulty breathing and feel a nervous shaking throughout their body. They may also experience a “pins and needles” sensation in certain parts of their body, usually the fingers and toes as well as a feeling of light-headedness. Some people also experience hot flashes or chills.

People come to therapists because they want to know how to stop panic attacks. Most times there is no real threat of danger and the licensed therapist, with all of their professional skills, can work with the client to cure the panic attacks once and for all.