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Doctors provide information about the treatment options for panic attacks
Panic attacks are a relatively widespread complaint that can be a significant burden for those affected in everyday life and sometimes have serious physical consequences. Physicians at the University Hospital Bonn therefore provide information about the treatment options and make it clear that most of those affected can certainly be helped.
If fear and panic attacks determine life, those affected need help. Because "fear is increasingly affecting everyday life and diminishing the quality of life," explains Privatdozent Dr. Rupert Conrad, senior physician and head of research at the Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy in Bonn. Anxiety disorders are inherently treatable with psychotherapy, but this presupposes that those affected also make use of the therapies.
Ten percent of Germans with an anxiety disorder
From an evolutionary perspective, fear, according to the Bonn researchers, ensures survival. Because it protects us from taking irresponsible risks in dangerous situations. A little stage fright, for example, could also increase attention during an exam. However, it is estimated that every tenth person in Germany develops an anxiety disorder, the scientists continue.
Panic attacks lead to avoidance behavior
Anxiety disorders can relate, for example, to an excessive fear of spiders, syringes, closed rooms and contact with people, or to the unfounded fear of possible accidents. Typically, the emotional state occurs repeatedly and inappropriately violently during panic attacks. Many people affected therefore try to avoid the supposedly dangerous situations.
Behavioral therapy particularly helpful
According to the Bonn experts, anxiety disorders can be easily treated with psychotherapy, but the use of psychotropic drugs can also make sense. Dr. Ingo Wegener, Head Psychologist for Behavior Therapy at the Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, emphasizes that "Behavior therapy in particular, a special form of psychotherapy, has proven itself and achieved very good success rates".
Different treatment approaches can be combined
In behavioral therapy, those affected are confronted with the respective avoided fear triggers in voluntary exercises, explains Dr. Wegener This is how patients experience that the feared catastrophes do not occur at all, so their avoidance behavior, which is usually associated with fears, is unfounded, reports the expert. In the clinic for psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy at the University Clinic Bonn, the behavior therapy methods are successfully combined with deep psychological approaches to treat panic attacks, according to the doctors. (fp)