Panic attacks affect millions of people and can be debilitating. Depending on the severity of the disorder, and the frequency of the attacks, sufferers might use livestyle choices, therapy, or medicine to try and overcome them – not always successfully. But one thing that should help anyone reduce the fear to make it more manageable is knowledge of what is actually happening both physically and psychologically. Based on her clinical experiences in helping to treat patients suffering from panic attacks, medical doctor and psychotherapist Dr Áine Tubridy wrote When Panic Attacks to equip everyone with the with the basic knowledge and tools to make the condition more bearable.
I found the first half of the book, in which Dr Tubridy explains the biology behind a panic attack incredibly valuable. Her explanations of the physical symptoms one might experience during a panic attack are easy to follow and help reduce the fear of not knowing what is happening to your body. Every topic is visualised by examples – which are not always equally helpful and do become somewhat repetitive, but might be helpful to many readers in recognising and contextualising their symptoms. As we know from the warning in her introduction, she drifts from the purely scientific to the more spiritual later on in the book, by linking panic responses to the chakra system. This might not be to everyone’s taste, but mainly helps to visualise some of the scientific explanations and can easily be skipped if the reader is more interested in the practical solutions and techniques that can help to reduce panic attacks.