What are you to do should you feel overwhelmed and suffer from panic attacks? I purchased the “Panic Away” method, developed by Barry McDonagh, which advertises effective relief for those who suffer from these attacks. Common symptoms of anxiety (panic) attacks are presented, along with the 21-7 Technique™, offered as a solution. This approach uses cognitive based therapy (CBT). So, what did I learn from reading the 274-page Panic Away book and participating in the online forums, and viewing the online audio and video materials?
First, I have a new-found appreciation for the problems people face, and the special situations some sufferers of panic attacks have to deal with. You might be under pressure at work, or undergoing financial problems, or maybe the kids are driving you crazy. Who knows? Life can be difficult at times. Then…suddenly, you feel your heart beating fast, perhaps a pain develops in your chest. Sometimes you become dizzy, and your mind starts to race with “what if” thoughts. You may want to run away immediately. You may even take a trip to the emergency room at a local hospital, in the firm conviction you are having a heart attack. This short description of a set of panic attack symptoms can’t really give justice to the sheer terror and panic people endure with their panic attacks.
On the Panic Away forum, back in 2011, members were asked: ”How much has Panic Away helped you”? As of mid 2013, There were 188 respondents, with the following results:
- Not helped (4 votes [2.1%] )
- Helped a little (11 votes [5.9%])
- Helped somewhat (27 votes [14.4%])
- Helped a lot (76 votes [40.4%])
- Helped extremely (70 votes [37.2%])
Bottom line: your success using this panic attack course is dependent on many factors. Yet, over time, 3 out of 4 were either ‘helped a lot,’ or ‘helped extremely.’
The Panic Away technique is comprehensive, with a 274 page book, 10 audios, 5 videos, and an active forum. Online, I can keep an updated journal of my progress, including sharing this journal with a therapist. 10 excellent audios are also provided, reinforcing the lessons of the ‘Panic Away’ book.
On the forum (with 7,700 members), here are some of the active discussion areas:
- Success Stories
- General Anxiety Help
- Panic Disorder Help
- Minerals,Vitamins,Supplements, Which work?
- The Water Cooler
- Alternative Resources
To me, this forum seems to have grown into the de facto international discussion group for panic and anxiety attack sufferers.
What I Like about ‘Panic Away’
Based on what I’ve observed, it seems this method actually is very effective in reducing panic attacks. It seems you just need to trust in the effectiveness of this technique. Panic Away helps you get to the source of what is causing your panic attacks. For this condition, medication should be used cautiously as a support mechanism rather than a crutch, as used by many. It’s dangerous to rely on medication, and it could make your issues much worse. Panic Away helps you identify, accept and correct the anxious thoughts that are controlling you, and your panic attacks.
There is the ability, online, of having a one-to-one chat with a support person. Panic Away provides an option of either purchasing the complete course, with the hard copy of the Panic Away book, and several DVDs and CDs, or the online book and members area, which is everything in the physical pack, as an immediate download.
What I Don’t Like about ‘Panic Away’
Barry McDonagh is not a licensed psychologist or psychotherapist, although his CBT technique has been been endorsed by many licensed practitioners. However, both the British NHS and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health endorse CBT as an effective technique.
In the online user area, I couldn’t get any of the videos to work on my PC. Maybe I had my video setup misconfigured.
The advice given in the book is effective, but it’s nothing revolutionary. Although self-help books can help, oftentimes the best bet is to find a good therapist.
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Panic Away Benefits for Reducing Panic Attacks
Here are just some of the attack-reducing benefits of ‘Panic Away’ :
- no more days and nights consumed by panic attacks
- “fear of flying” is relieved
- no more being “housebound” by agaraphobia/claustrophobia
- improved, more confident public speaking
- live a more expansive, adventurous life
- greater compassion for yourself and others
- better ability to sleep at night
- less shaking hands, blushing, and sweating in public
- reduction, or elimination of anti-anxiety medicines
- reduction in headaches
- less depression
- a more confident attitude
It is useful to dwell on the last sentence of the ‘Panic Away’ mission statement. “It is by not removing this “fear of fear” that most medications and psychotherapy fail.” Several prominent psychologists and psychiatrists do in fact recommend roughly the same techniques outlined in the ‘Panic Away’ technique, because of the deep psychological insight and panic attacks reduction ‘Panic Away’ reveals.
Checking the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), they also endorse a cognitive based therapy approach to treatment of panic attacks, similar to that used in Panic Away. In particular, they offer a useful download link to a 26 page document on anxiety disorders.
My experience with Panic Away
How severe is my problem? Can one quantify the extent of one’s panic attacks? The Panic and Agoraphobia Scale reveals the extent of one’s problem after answering a few simple questions. For instance, after answering a set of 14 questions, I initially scored 19 out of 52, where “higher scores indicate more severe panic attacks and agoraphobia symptoms.” After studying the Panic Away technique, and employing it, I re-took the questions, several weeks later. This time, I scored 4 out of 52. It’s true I feel less apprehensive now. This is only my anecdotal statement. Let’s see what others say.