• Pamela Froman

Panic Anonymous

Panic and anxiety attacks can be a debilitating disorder. But you are not alone – there is help out there. The answer is through the support organization Panic Anonymous.

Panic Anonymous is a 12-step program where you can share the angst that is creating chaos within your life. They address and support as a group, helping you face your pain. Dealing with these unwanted feelings can help you take control and free your mind!

What is Panic Disorder? Panic Disorder is an interruption of fear that runs through your body. A typical person gets into fear and then recovers – they feel afraid, it goes away, and they never think about it again. With Panic Disorder the fear keeps growing, like a closed loop system. These overwhelming feelings can create real, physical issues. You have to address what is going on with your mind to ease the pain.

“Sufferers don't know how to get out of the fear, so it's a constant. You're almost afraid of yourself,” says Tiffany Segura, who cofounded Panic Anonymous with acupuncturist Dr. Hank Golden. “Panic Anonymous was needed for people to go to a place and be able to share in their feelings and know that there could be help.”

Tiffany began Panic Anonymous because she realized there were so many people who were hurting from panic attacks and anxiety disorders. She decided it was time for people with these disorders to be able to identify with each other.

“When you have a panic attack you feel like you are going to die or go crazy and it's hard to function in the world with that,” says Tiffany. “Just imagine being chased by a lion but there is no lion there – it's just your thoughts running. Your body reacts and you get heart palpitations, dry mouth, you can't breathe, and your body fills up with cortisol and it's impossible to move.”

Helping people with Panic Disorders is becoming more mainstream. Many movie stars and famous athletes are openly discussing their own issues. That discussion is helping remove the stigma from problems such as anxiety. “People call it a mental issue, but it really is an emotional issue,” says Tiffany. “But I think with people coming out and speaking openly about it – I'm happy to say that there is now help.”

As well, there are many online resources for people who deal with panic attacks. Simply Google Panic Disorders or Agoraphobia or Anxiety or Social Phobias – there's a ton of information out on the web now, with everything from doctors trying to treat it to cognitive behavioral therapists. Acupuncture, Yoga and Light Therapy are also thought of as ways to help cope. Videos on YouTube also provide tons of ideas.

The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. Panic Anonymous is a support group that understands. Also it's vital to go to your primary care doctor to get diagnosed just to make sure that the issue is a panic problem. Do the step work and you'll get to a healthier place.

“I think that's what's important,” says Tiffany. “How do we get from this debilitating problem to walking out feeling good and free? It's a matter of learning coping skills and working through the fear.”

Panic Anonymous is an online forum for you to share and learn. They meet every Wednesday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 21515 Vanowen St., Suite 114, in Canoga Park. For more information log onto

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