Anxiety and Panic

Disorder Treatment

Orange County Mental Health Treatment With Residential Care


General Anxiety Disorder and panic disorders can cause those afflicted to feel powerless and overwhelmed.  The root of anxiety and panic disorders is complicated.  A successful solution is equally complex.  The short-term answer is breathing, grounding, and meditation. The long-term answer is a comprehensive psychiatric program that includes the former.  Our Orange County Residential Psychiatric Facility ensures a soothing environment to dive into your goals.  The skill-building around mindfulness and self-regulation is immediately empowering.

D’Amore Healthcare takes your entire medical, social, work, trauma, and provider history into consideration.  Our courteous and expert staff address each facet of the diagnosis, through individual and group sessions, as well as a number of therapeutic modalities, in order to help you find relief and self-soothe.  We are a nationally-recognized, licensed mental health facility that has helped individuals suffering from anxiety and panic disorders find a new road to mental wellness.  Our personalized approach is designed to treat the patient as a whole, bringing joy and hope back to the lives of those suffering from anxiety and panic disorders.


Anxiety and panic can cause constant disruptions to a person’s everyday life, interfering with even the most mundane tasks.  For people living with panic disorder, they can tell you panic attacks are absolutely terrifying.  Reports indicate that 11% of Americans suffer from one or more panic attacks yearly. 

Not being in control of your actions or being unable to function, move, or breathe can lead to severe feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Those who suffer from anxiety and panic disorders have a significantly increased suicide rate.  There is also a strong correlation between panic or anxiety disorders with substance use disorder.  At D’Amore, we are not only qualified to treat Anxiety and Panic Disorders but Suicidal Ideation and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders as well.


D’Amore Healthcare is a dual diagnosis, mental health treatment center for men and women specializing in the intervention, acute stabilization, and residential treatment of anxiety and panic disorder. We are a Joint Commission-accredited facility located in the sunny, beach community of Huntington Beach, in Orange County, California.

We offer the following treatment modalities for those suffering from anxiety and panic disorder:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Strategic Therapy
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Humanistic Therapy
  • Positive Psychology
  • Our “Build Me Up” Positive Reinforcement Program
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Strategic Family Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Reality Therapy


Anxiety disorders are a type of mental health disorder in which those afflicted suffer from intense and often irrational feelings of fear.  Anxiety disorders can include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, as well as phobias.  Typical phobias include fear of spiders, fear of heights, fear of flying, and fear of the number 13. 

Most people get anxious before a big meeting or important social affair.  But people with anxiety disorders often have excessive feelings of fear in situations that don’t warrant it.  They may be paralyzed by fear in circumstances that people without the disorder wouldn’t think twice about.  Depending on the type of anxiety disorder that they have a diagnosis for, they may be wracked with anxiety just thinking about leaving the house, going to a crowded restaurant, or watching a loved one leave for work.  These feelings will typically be persistent as well.  People with an anxiety disorder will consistently worry about everyday situations despite continued evidence that they have nothing to fear.


The symptoms of an anxiety disorder can reach a pinnacle in the form of a panic attack.  Panic attacks are sudden feelings of intense anxiety, fear, or terror.  The onset of these attacks can happen in a matter of minutes.  Panic attacks often interfere with a person’s daily life.  It is difficult for a person to control or minimize their feelings of panic without extensive psychological education and coping skills.

Anxiety disorders often emerge in early adulthood.  However, they have been known to begin in childhood or the early teenage years.  These feelings can get better or worse during different stages of a person’s life.  The symptoms of anxiety can be triggered by stressful events or times of crisis.  They are often exacerbated by problems with a person’s health, finances, or job security.

Substance use, ranging from caffeine and alcohol to benzos and methamphetamine, can cause and exacerbate anxiety and panic disorders.  Furthermore, withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing the use of these substances can also provoke or aggravate these conditions.  Finally, in a survey conducted among people who had attempted suicide, 70% of those questioned had a history of anxiety disorders.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by chronic anxiety and excessive worry.  Especially in situations that do not necessitate a fearful or nervous reaction.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes a person to become routinely obsessed with unwanted thoughts.  People with OCD also have compulsions to perform repetitive behaviors.  These behaviors, like hand washing, flipping light switches, or counting things, are usually tied to the person’s obsessive thoughts.  If the person with OCD is worried that a loved one will be in an automotive accident, they may believe that counting the steps they take may prevent this.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by unexpected episodes of intense fear coupled with heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain.  Some people mistake Panic Attacks for Heart Attacks.  Because of this a full medical screening is often necessary to rule out other causes, unrelated to anxiety.  A person who is having a Panic Attack will often be paralyzed by fear or appear incoherent.  The best way to get through a Panic attack is to sit down and focus on controlled breathing techniques.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a traumatizing ordeal where physical or emotional harm is threatened.  Some traumatic events that may trigger PTSD are assault, natural disasters, accidents, or military combat.  But they can also occur when a person is caused to feel helpless over their physical or emotional state.

Social Phobia / Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Phobia and Social Anxiety Disorder are characterized by anxiety and self-consciousness in everyday social interactions.  Social phobia can include specific fears related to public speaking, going to crowded areas, or eating in front of others.  Social Anxiety Disorder can also be broad.  A person with this anxiety disorder may experience stress and anxiety whenever they are around other people.


General Anxiety Disorder usually develops slowly.  Its symptoms can begin to emerge in different ways for different people.  GAD can also evolve as a person grows older.  What can begin as excessive worry about grades in high school can grow into a fear of crowds later in life.

If you or a loved one are experiencing some of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about them.  Your doctor can perform an exam and examine your health history to ensure that an unrelated condition is not causing these symptoms.

Some common symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder are:

  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling restless
  • Having a sense of impending doom
  • Feelings of panic or terror
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak
  • Fatigue
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Preoccupation with worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
  • Struggling to control anxiety
  • Avoiding situations that trigger anxiety
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Headaches, muscle aches, or unexplained pains
  • Having a hard time swallowing
  • Nervously twitching
  • Needing to use the bathroom often

This is by no means a complete list, and due to the high comorbidity and suicides rates, medical attention to a suspected  anxiety or panic disorder is highly recommended. If you or someone you love is suffering from anxiety or panic disorders, please don’t hesitate to call today.


It’s not easy helping a friend or family member who is living with anxiety or panic disorder.  Sometimes even bringing up the topic of their health can trigger a person with an anxiety disorder and cause them even more stress.  When dealing with a loved one with an anxiety disorder, it’s important to keep in mind that they are often experiencing things that trigger their fight, flight, or freeze response.  In this heightened mindstate, it can be difficult for them to see things in the way you do.  Remember that their mind works in a different way than yours does. 

Here are some helpful tips that may make it easier for you to help a loved one with an anxiety disorder.

Learn as much as possible about the specific form of Anxiety Disorder that your loved one is diagnosed with.

Participate in exercise classes, breathing exercises, or meditation with your loved one.

Don’t encourage or enable “Avoidance Behavior.”  Avoiding things that you are worried about doing, like making an important phone call or going to the doctor, just make anxiety worse.

Try to de-stigmatize the symptoms of anxiety.  The fear of having a panic attack, trembling, or sweating in public can be so stressful that it can make these symptoms worse.  Help your loved one get through these things calmly by knowing how to cope with these feelings.

Have boundaries and encourage them to talk to their therapist or psychiatrist.  Some people with anxiety disorder need constant reassurance.  You should be supportive, but some things are best left to the professionals.


How is Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed?

Anxiety disorder can be diagnosed by a Psychiatrist or Primary Care Physician if the symptoms of Anxiety Disorder occur more often than not over a six month period. These symptoms must also significantly interfere with a person’s ability to function in their daily lives. A doctor will also perform a physical and psychological evaluation to exclude other possible medical causes of these symptoms.

What are the most common treatments for Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders are typically treated with psychotherapy and medication. Some examples of treatment are:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Support Groups
Stress-Management Techniques
Anti-Anxiety Medications

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is anxiety that persists for months at a time without significant improvement. GAD causes people to worry excessively about themselves or their loved ones. This anxiety can manifest as fears about health, money or employment. Often this anxiety becomes so severe that it impairs a person's ability to lead a normal life and can negatively impact their relationships.

GAD can also manifest in physical symptoms, like fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, and irritability.

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is characterized by sudden episodes of intense fear that occur with some frequency. These feelings are often accompanied by a sense of impending doom. Panic Disorder may manifest in the physical symptoms of chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal distress, sweatiness, weakness, faintness or dizziness.

What are the effects of Stress?

Stress is a disruptive force, that can cause a variety of negative effects on a person's body, mood, and behavior. Some common effects on the body are headaches, chest pain, fatigue, and insomnia. Stress can affect a person's mood are anxiety, irritability, and depression. Behavioral symptoms of stress include overeating, isolation, drug use, and alcohol abuse.

How long does Anxiety Disorder Treatment Take?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help to alleviate the symptoms of Anxiety Disorder in 12 to 16 weeks. Medication can become effective in 2 to 6 weeks, depending on which type of medication is chosen and how well it works with an individual's brain chemistry. Co-occurring medical conditions can make effective Anxiety Disorder treatment more difficult. Depression, substance abuse, or other co-existing conditions can complicate the treatment process.

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