Panic attacks can disrupt and severely limit sufferers’ lives, keeping them from doing well at work, enjoying their leisure time, or interacting effectively with other people. Internal responses to anxiety and distress may spiral out of control, with the body’s own systems working against itself to amplify perceived or anticipated danger all out of proportion.
In A JOURNEY WITH PANIC, Drs. Manning and Ridgeway carefully explain what a panic attack is, how the body and mind react to one, why panic attacks happen, and what mental tools can be used to bring back mental clarity, reduce physical symptoms, and restore the ability to function. They use a cognitive-behavioral approach that trains the mind’s own responses through self-talk, worksheets, practice “homework” and rational understanding of symptoms and experiences. They also offer, near the end of their book, a list of other therapies that have shown promise when used on their own or in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The authors write in a clear, straightforward, and accessible fashion, without jargon or over-elaborate technical language, and offer manageable, sensible tasks for the reader to try. Diagrams illustrate concepts visually. These include anatomical diagrams showing what parts of the body are affected by and/or contribute to a panic attack, and flowcharts illustrating what thought processes help to amplify or can be used to diminish the force of an attack. Chapter summaries give the main points in concise bullets for review or skimming. Worksheets, which are included in substantial numbers in the book for the reader’s use and convenience, help to illustrate to the user’s conscious mind what is going on, as well as helping them use the conscious mind’s rational abilities to alter what is occurring at deeper, less conscious levels. This isn’t meant as a substitute for actual therapy, naturally, but may be a very effective supplement to it.
The book is a short, simple read, and even the homework isn’t terribly onerous, so there’s not much to lose by trying it. Further resources and reading materials are listed at the back, along with a glossary. Some of the practical information, like the list of regulatory organizations governing therapists, is specific to the United Kingdom, where the authors practice, but most of the book should be helpful outside the UK as well.
A JOURNEY WITH PANIC is a clear, concise guide that outlines a simple, tested, and effective strategy for managing and working through panic attacks, and possibly preventing their recurrence.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader