Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are periods of intense apprehension and fear that come on suddenly. The average panic attack commonly lasts about 30 minutes, but they can be as short as a matter of seconds or come in cycles lasting hours. Panic attacks can cause many symptoms including cold sweats, faintness, nausea, trembling, palpitations, chest pain, light-headedness and a shortness of breath. Sufferers often report feelings of "going crazy", "having a heart attack" or "being about to die."

I may never have become a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist if it were not for my own experiences of anxiety and panic attacks – an area in which I now specialise. It was on the first day of a business trip to Canada that I had a full-blown panic attack.

I was enjoying some free time in a gym when suddenly a wave of anxiety overwhelmed me. I will never forget being rushed to Vancouver Hospital, having convinced the ambulance crew and myself that I'd suffered a heart attack.

Panic attacks can be brought on by a number of triggers and are distinguished from other forms of anxiety by their sudden, erratic occurrence. Conditions or instances in which a panic attack might occur include:

Panic Attacks
  • Phobic response trigger exposures
  • Post traumatic stress disorder or an obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Suffering from a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism or hypoglycemia
  • Traumatic life experiences such as loss or bereavement, moving house or divorce
  • A family history of anxiety or panic attacks
  • Certain types of medication
  • Withdrawal from drug or alcohol addiction

To my embarrassment – and relief – a pleasant doctor informed me that my heart was in perfect working order and that it had been a panic attack I had experienced. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry – I ended up doing both.

The worries about anxiety or suffering another panic attack built up and soon began a destructive spiral of behaviour that led to me becoming reclusive and introspective and after a while I even stopped working. I was in a mess.

A chance meeting with an old friend proved to be the catalyst for getting my life back on track. She suggested I needed an interest – something that would bring a sense of balance to my life and help me build my confidence again. She reminded me of my teenage interest in hypnosis and said that during her training as a practitioner in the NHS she had seen the results of hypnotherapy curing a patient's needle phobia which had reminded her of the time I had attempted to hypnotise her in her youth. As a result of that brief conversation I enroled on a clinical hypnotherapy course and since that day I have never looked back.

As a result of that brief conversation I enroled on a clinical hypnotherapy course and since that day I have never looked back. If only I'd considered hypnotherapy earlier – I could have avoided a lot of wasted time and hurting. The value of my own experience is as important as all the years of training I have undertaken – it's the reason I feel so passionately about helping others and getting their lives back on track too.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Understanding what a panic attack is and why it takes place is a great help in the treatment of people who suffer with panic attacks. Discussing the aspects of your panic attacks may help understand what is happening in your mind and discover the triggers that set them off. Through hypnotherapy these triggers are addressed and your thought patterns changed. By direct suggestion and behavioural training, hypnotherapy alleviates anxiety, disassociating you from the particular anxieties that bring on panic attacks. As your confidence improves your panic attacks will become a thing of the past and you will be able to move forward with your life.

Russell Hemmings helped me

What anxiety sufferers say...

"I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks for the last two years. Russell’s insight into this area, along with the knowledge of the subject and his own experience of anxiety, has enabled me to finally beat these horrible feelings of dread. He was the first therapist who I had met with who had walked my path and truly knew the anxiety I had experienced prior to working with him. Thanks so much.”

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“I came to the clinic as I was suffering with panic attacks, which were affecting daily tasks such as driving. After the first session, I felt completely relaxed and had a feeling of calm all though my body. I have not panicked since.”




“Russell, I don’t get panic attacks any more. I know you said I wouldn’t, and it would only be a matter of time before I lost them completely, but having had them for two years and having tried everything to get rid of them, you will understand I was a little sceptical. When I read about you suffering with panic attacks yourself that helped me a lot and the tools you gave me work really well. I now realise that panic and anxiety is something that is quite common, and I have recommended two people with the same problem and you got the same result with them. Take care my friend, and keep up the good work. Yours – panic free – Ed.


“Two sessions and my panic attacks were gone and they haven’t returned.”

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