Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks Specialist
Panic attacks are frightening and debilitating, and their unpredictable nature can result in serious injury. The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine with Dr. Velkoff as medical director, has a longstanding reputation as a leading provider of biofeedback and neurofeedback treatments. At both Northridge and Irvine, California locations, The Drake Institute helps patients overcome and prevent panic attacks without the use of drugs and their potentially harmful side effects.

Panic Attacks Q & A

The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine

What are panic attacks?

A panic attack is a sudden and acute psychophysiological reaction characterized by severe anxiety, nervousness, overwhelming fear and sometimes difficulty breathing with a rapid heart rate. Panic attacks often occur in patients with untreated anxiety disorders and people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can also occur in people who have undergone a series of stressful, threatening or traumatic experiences or in people who have been physically or emotionally abused.

What symptoms are associated with panic attacks?

The American Psychiatric Association has identified these symptoms as being associated with panic attacks:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing or taking deep breaths
  • Rapid heartbeat, “racing” heart or palpitations
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Uncontrollable shaking or trembling
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Feelings of being detached or disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings
  • Difficulties swallowing or sensations of choking
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sensations of numbness or tingling
  • Flushing or chills
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control

Panic attacks can occur anytime, anywhere without warning, even when driving a car or in a potentially dangerous situation.

How are panic attacks diagnosed?

Panic attacks and other anxiety disorders are diagnosed with a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s symptoms and medical history, combined with biofeedback instrumentation testing and innovative “brain-mapping” technology to identify the specific abnormal physiological reactions and brain wave patterns associated with the panic attack syndrome. These evaluations help ensure treatment plans can be optimized for each patient’s unique needs.

How are panic attacks treated at the Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine?

The Drake Institute uses biofeedback, brain map guided neurofeedback and supportive methods to help patients normalize their physiological reactions that occur during panic attacks so attacks can be stopped and prevented. While most “traditional” treatment programs for panic attacks and anxiety disorders rely on long-term use of potentially harmful medications, biofeedback and neurofeedback tap into the patient's natural ability to “re-regulate” physiologic responses to avoid dependency on medications. Drake's treatment can help an individual strengthen their ability to self-regulate and restore self-confidence. Biofeedback and neurofeedback provide real-time information about the patient’s physiological reactions so they can learn to self-regulate effectively. Over time, the patient is able to “retrain” their brain and their body to respond in a healthy way through their own inner control to produce life-changing improvement.

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The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine
4330 Barranca Parkway
Suite 130
Irvine, CA 92604