The average person has more than 6000 thoughts a day, most of these just come and go. But as our brain is there to keep us safe, it is always checking for danger. Sometimes, we have a thought that triggers an emotional response such as fear. Anxiety tricks us into thinking we are actually in danger or something is genuinely wrong. When this happens the thought is pushed forward into our conscious mind setting off alarm bells so you can actively find a solution for the threat. Unfortunately, this automatic system doesn’t know the difference between real threats and imagined ones. This means it treats both in exactly the same way, triggering the fight, flight or freeze response.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is the cornerstone of most anxiety treatment at the current time and is used to help people alter the way they perceive situations and how they react to them, effectively resetting the fear level to expected normal levels. CBT works on the principle of breaking the vicious circle between a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms.  This form of therapy helps people understand how their thoughts influence anxiety and avoidance. By doing this they can then start to challenge their fears.

CBT is a talking therapy that works on identifying the original trigger of your anxiety, then becoming aware of your beliefs, inaccurate thoughts and emotions surrounding your anxiety. The next part of CBT is to work on challenging these issues and participating in exposure work using coping strategies.

No Panic’s recovery services use layperson cognitive/behaviour therapy and anxiety management as the basis for recovery. Whilst no therapy guarantees success, this method has at the present time the highest success rate. You can find out more here:

What Does Good CBT Look Like?

Seeking Solutions

By Margaret Hawkins

“Am I ill in the accepted sense? No I am not. I haven’t got a virus, no broken bones, my heart and lungs are functioning well, so my doctor tells me. What is the matter then? If I am not ill, why do I feel ill and look ill? I have all the prerequisites, pains in my chest, my breathing problems, can’t eat, can’t walk because my legs are like jelly and then there are the dizzy spells. I’ve got to be ill haven’t I?

Let me think again. These are all real symptoms that I am experiencing but just supposing I accepted that I was not physically ill, what would I be left with – just that, a collection of symptoms. What now, why do I have them? I have been told it is because I am anxious and that the strange feelings are produced by my nervous system, which is not as steady as it should be. They tell me that it is the result of the surges of adrenaline that cause these frightening things happening to me. Yet I don’t ask for these things to happen to me. So why do they?

I can’t remember exactly when it started. It may have been because I lost my job, or was it when the baby was born and I was so stressed? Perhaps it was when I moved house and I was lonely or when Dad died? Maybe it was the time I had to have an operation or perhaps it was my divorce. I don’t know!

So here I am with a cluster of symptoms that I can’t get rid of because I don’t know what to do. Let me think about this. The first panic attack I had was in the street. It was unexpected and was a tremendous shock. Of course it could have happened anywhere, when I was held up in traffic, at the shops, in the office or at home. When I look back I can see that I was so scared of the horrible feelings, I soon started to avoid places and situations that made me anxious. However, before all this occurred I had no problems with these situations. So what does this tell me?

I have been reassured that I am physically well, but something must trigger of these attack. What can it be? I have tried to ignore them. I have kept away from distressing situations. I have tried everything but nothing seems to work. On the whole I don’t feel too bad unless I rock the boat, but I want to rock the boat. I want to do all the things I used to do.

It appears that only my thoughts are left. It must be something to do with them. ~They say that the mind is like a computer so I suppose I have stored all my horrible experiences away. I must have saved them in a file. That means I am programmed doesn’t it? Could this be the answer? Consciously or unconsciously when I am having a bad day or in a situation I dread, what do I do? I search through my memory bank and up comes my file. It reads “You felt frightened when you were in this situation before” That is enough to make me feel frightened all over again! Here comes another panic attack.

What am I going to do? Well I am going to try and re-program my computer so that when I search my file it will read – “I know I felt frightened in this situation before but I must remember that I have not always reacted like this. The situation has not changed, just my conception of it. I am afraid of a feeling that I had and now I am recreating it. I am expecting it to happen and of course it will. My computer can only do what I tell it and will follow the program through. In other words if I think I might panic my inbuilt computer starts to search its memory bank to locate all the things connected with this thought and it sends out messages, alarm signals, that work automatically to get me ready for action. But I don’t need to go into action do I? There is nothing for me to fight! I am going to try and accept what has happened to me and I am going to gradually go through my memory file deleting all the old and unwanted information. After that I am going to write a new program that will give me a different perspective on my problems and banish fear.”

How can No Panic help?
No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services include:
Providing people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery.
Our aim is to give you all of the necessary advice, tools and support that you will need to recover and carry out this journey. No Panic Recovery Programs