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Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. A person experiencing a panic attack may believe that he or she is having a heart attack or that death is imminent. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them.

Most people with panic attacks experience several of the following symptoms:


“Racing” heart

Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy

Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers

Sense of terror, of impending doom or death

Feeling sweaty or having chills

Chest pains

Breathing difficulties

Feeling a loss of control


Panic attacks are generally brief, lasting less than ten minutes, although some of the symptoms may persist for a longer time. People who have had one panic attack are at greater risk for having subsequent panic attacks than those who have never experienced a panic attack.

When the attacks occur repeatedly, a person is considered to have a condition know as panic disorder. People with Panic Disorder may be extremely anxious and fearful, since they are unable to predict when the next episode will occur. Panic Disorder is fairly common and affects about 2.4 million people in the U.S., or 1.7% of the adult population between the ages of 18 and 54. Women are twice as likely as men to develop the condition, and its symptoms usually begin in early adulthood.

It is not clear what causes Panic Disorder. In many people, its symptoms develop in association with major life changes (such as getting married, having a child, starting a new job, etc.) and major lifestyle stressors. There is also some evidence that suggests that the tendency to develop Panic Disorder may run in families. People who suffer from Panic Disorder are also more likely than others to suffer from depression, attempt suicide, or to abuse alcohol or drugs.

Luckily for suffers of frequent panic attacks, Panic Disorder is a treatable condition. Psychotherapy and medications have both been used, either singly or in combination, for successful treatment of Panic Disorder. If medication is necessary, your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, or a class of heart medications known as beta blockers to help control the episodes in Panic Disorder.


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

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Symptoms of Depression

People suffering from major depression have five or more of the following:


Depressed mood – Felt for most of the day, nearly every day. A person may feel sad, empty or hopeless, or someone else may be noticing a person’s mood. Loss of interest or pleasure – Inability to experience pleasure. Not interested in previous hobbies, social activities, sex, etc.

Appetite or weight change – Significant weight loss or gain. Decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

Sleep changes – Either insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.

Feelings of restlessness / agitation or feeling “slowed down”.

Fatigue or loss of energy every day.

Feelings of worthlessness or excessive, inappropriate guilt nearly every day.

Concentration problems – Indecisive, memory problems, or difficulty focusing.

Suicidal thoughts.

If you find that you have a number of the above symptoms, but fewer than five, and not as frequent, you may be suffering from a milder form of depression.

Is counselling right for you?

Counselling can help you explore underlying causes of your depression and it can help you get in touch with some of the unrecognized emotions that trigger your depression. As you explore these triggers and the behaviour patterns that result, you can begin to feel better and make some desired changes.


Although the world is very full of suffering,

It is also full of the overcoming of it

Helen Keller (1880-1968)

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Anger Management

Like most emotions, anger is accompanied by psychological and biological changes; the person’s heart rate and blood pressure will typically increase, as will the level of adrenaline. Anger is possibly the most handled emotion in our society; the goal of anger management therefore is to reduce both the emotional feelings and physiological arousal that anger creates. Knowing how to recognize and express anger in the correct way can help individuals reach their goals, solve problems and handle emergencies.

If you feel that your anger is really out of control, and is affecting your life, counselling can help you develop a range of techniques for changing your thinking and behaviour. Without help, anger can lead to a variety of personal difficulties.

Everyone knows what anger is, and most people have felt it at some point in their life. It is a completely normal, often healthy, human emotion. However if anger become out of control it may lead to many problems, at work, in personal relationships and in the overall quality of life. Anger is natures way of empowering individuals to protect against a perceived attack or threat, it is only the mismanagement of anger that causes problems. Anger can often be an unpredictable and powerful emotion.

Mismanaged anger can lead to many negative outcomes; domestic abuse, workplace violence, road rage, addiction and divorce are only a few examples. Anger is often triggered by perceived threats and is a common reaction when someone has been insulted, hurt or unfairly treated. However when anger is controlled and managed appropriately, it may have a positive influence, helping individuals stand up for themselves and fight against injustices.


Let us remember, so far as we can, that every unpleasant thought

is a bad thing literally put into the body”


Pientice Mulford

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All our counsellors are accredited Therapists