Safety Behaviours play a HUGE part in maintaining panic attacks

  • When we panic we imagine that a CATASTROPHE will befall us – a heart attack – suffocation – collapse – going crazy and so on.
  • In order to avert this imagined ‘CATASTROPHE’ we adopt ‘safety behaviours’ – we may escape the situation, lie down, lean against a wall, seek support from someone and so on.
  • If this helps calm us down we then imagine that the ONLY reason disaster DIDN’T happen was BECAUSE of the safety behaviour.

We think..

“Who knows WHAT might have happened !..”
  • We then believe that should we ever feel this bad again the solution is to REPEAT the safety behaviour that seemed to help.
  • This means we NEVER get to learn that had we stayed with the anxiety and done NOTHING to stop it – the disaster we predicted wouldn’t have happened (because it was just anxiety which would have died down in time.)
  • This is why ‘safety behaviours’ play a big part in MAINTAINING our fear of the consequences of the fight or flight sensations.


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