Anxiety & Panic Disorder

Are you feeling anxious this morning? Why or why not? What exactly is anxiety?

Anxiety and stress are a normal phenomenon and is required to propel us to drive us towards our goals. This “propelled energy” is often characterized by fear of failure or perception of not being able to cope with everyday life stressors. This fear prime our bodies with hormones, sending an instant state of red alert/fight or flight message to our bodily functions to function, in an attempt to successfully deal with the challenge at hand.

Stressors/challenges include:

  1. Death of a partner
  2. Divorce /separation
  3. Injury/illness
  4. Getting married
  5. Breaking up with a boy/girlfriend
  6. Retirement
  7. Changing of school
  8. Being bullied at school
  9. Schoolwork

People who suffer from anxiety share two things in common: They overestimate the danger inherent to situations and underestimate their ability to cope with or handle the situation. They live under the shadow of constant threat – real or imagined, resulting in all sorts of consequences, both psychologically and physically.

Symptoms of anxiety depend on the type of anxiety disorder, but usually  include some of the following:

*Feeling of fear/panic/uneasiness *sweating *heart palpitations *not being able to be still and calm *dry mouth *problem sleeping * trembling *dizziness *hot or cold flushes.


As have been said, being anxious during difficult and challenging times is normal and even necessary for us to achieve our goals.

“When we, however, suffer from anxiety, we perceive our available resources to be insufficient to meet the demands of our circumstances”

Anxiety becomes a disorder when the symptoms become so severe that it starts to have a significant negative impact on our marital-, social- or occupational functioning).

It is being estimated that 1 in every 10 people will at one stage of their life suffer from an anxiety disorder, and is there for one of the most common conditions seen in our practices.


According to the DSM- IV, there are eleven distinguishable anxiety disorders.

I have combined them into five main groups namely:


A panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort in which 4 or more of the following symptoms are present within a 10 minutes period.


  • Often people go to ER in fear of having a heart attack – always a safe option if there are heart problems in the family. If anxiety.... and it happens again...
  • First thing- get to a safe position (Eg. stop the car)
  • Stop, think and then react.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • If necessary use a tranquilizer.
  • Visit a psychologist who can help you work through possible traumatic events that have triggered the attack/s, and to help you with techniques to debrief future attacks.


Find help now. - CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) - Hypno-therapy - EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) - Specific Psycho-Therapy
  • About +


    Jacob Oostenbrink, MA (Clinical psychology) has been in private practice since 1998. He started his practice in Brackenfell and then relocated to Rustenburg where he practiced for 11 years. His practice focused mainly on clinical work but he was often requested to do consulting work in the Mining Industry (which included the selection of employees, treatment of their substance abusers, assisting them with trauma counseling and addressing employees’ emotional well-being).

    In 2012 he relocated back to the Western Cape and opened his Clinical practice in Strand. Although he is registered as a clinical psychologist, he has completed both his internships in consulting and clinical psychology and finds himself comfortable in both areas. Prior to completing his MA degree, he was employed in the business environment for 12 years which has given him extensive experience in the Human Resources field.

    He practices as a clinical psychologist, rendering a variety of services to high school learners (adolescents), adults, couples and business environment. 

  • What is a clinical psychologist? +

    What is a clinical psychologist?

    A clinical psychologist is a person who holds an MA degree in clinical psychology and is registered with the Health Profession Council of South Africa (HPCSA). This profession specialty is mainly concerned with diagnosing more serious mental, emotional and behavioral disturbances.

    Clinical psychologists tend to view emotional well-being in an integrated way by taking into consideration the related aspects of the environment, body, brain and the mind.

  • Why do people visit a clinical psychologist? +

    Why do people visit a clinical psychologist?

    Individuals visit a clinical psychologist because they are troubled with problems, traumas or issues that they are not able to effectively deal with. These problems mostly have a significant negative impact on various areas of their life and may include school-, work-, home or their relational/marital life.

  • How are appointments made? +

    How are appointments made?

    Clients often make appointments for themselves when they have the need to, but are mostly being referred to psychologists by their General Practitioner (GP’s), certain Specialists, Pastors of their congregation, their schools or even by their employers.

  • What types of problems does a psychologist treat? +

    What types of problems does a psychologist treat?

    Individuals seeking help from a clinical psychologist usually require assistance with both assessment and/or treatment of problems or certain conditions. Clients may present with various problems or symptoms for example:

    • Attention-Deficit and Disrupted Behaviour Disorder (including ADHD)
    • Substance-Related Disorders (Including Alcohol, Nicotine, and Drugs)
    • Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders
    • Mood Disorder (Including Depressive Disorders and Bipolar Disorders)
    • Anxiety Disorders (Including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic attacks, Phobias and Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
    • Personality Disorder (Including Antisocial-, Narcissistic-, Avoidant- and Borderline personality disorder)
  • How can we help you? +

    How can we help you?

    Jacob Oostenbrink has thorough experience in the fields of clinical-, counseling and industrial psychology, and does various types of assessments on adolescents and adults for diagnostic, guidance and treatment purposes.

    His experience and interests are in the following areas

    • Mood disorders (such as major depression and bipolar mood disorders)
    • Anxiety disorders (such as panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder)
    • Substance related disorder (such as alcohol and Nicotine dependency)
    • Personality disorders (assessment and support)
    • Marital- and relational therapy (Imago therapy)
    • Subject- and career guidance
    • Trauma counseling (such as assistance after the death of a loved one, brutal attacks, serious accidents and other life threatening events)
    • Selection/psychometric assessment of personnel (by making use of various psychometric tests)
  • Therapeutic Approach +

    Therapeutic Approach

    Jacob Oostenbrink believes in a holistic treatment approach. It is therefore important to assess clients and their presenting problems in the context of their psychological history (including childhood wounding and other significant traumatic experiences) as well as present life circumstances that are integral to the individual’s well-being. The client needs to be made aware of why his life is disruptive and how he needs to change in order to achieve a state of emotional well-being. Therapy is an active process and personal responsibility is essential. Because no two clients are the same, therapeutic techniques may differ but it will always have the client’s best interest in mind. Compliance with medication, if it was suggested, is important and is used in collaboration with therapy.  

    Jacob Oostenbrink prefers using the following therapeutic techniques

    • Hypnosis/Relaxation Therapy
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
    • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
    • Imago Relational Therapy

    “Probably the biggest that happiness is not just a place, but a process...Happiness is an ongoing process of fresh challenges, takes the right attitudes and activities to continue to be happy”.
    -Ed Diener

  • Oostenbrink Clinical Psychologist +
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