Sports and Performance-Related Anxiety & Panic Disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally viewed as the most effective form of treatment for panic attacks, panic disorder, and performance-related anxiety.  Performance-related anxiety disorders often involve some degree of panic. Whether you are experiencing panic in the context of taking tests, performing for an audience, or competing in sporting events, or struggling with panic in contexts unrelated to performance situations, we can develop an effective cognitive behavioral therapy plan for you.


Test-Taking Anxiety

Test-taking anxiety involves a combination of physiological over-arousal, worry, and dread about test performance, and avoidance of effective preparation which often interferes with normal learning and lowers test performance. Test-taking anxiety can result in extreme stress, anxiety, and discomfort during and/or before taking a test.

If you are faced with taking a test or standardized exam and are prone to test-taking anxiety or intense nervousness, we can help. CBT/DBT Associates offer an individualized program for students on how to conquer test anxiety and perform to the best of your abilities.

(NOTE: This is not a test prep course. We do not teach you how to pick the best answer on a multiple choice test, or what kind of material you should study. Instead, this program focuses on conquering the emotional component of test-taking anxiety which often interferes with effective performance.)


Sports Performance & Competition Anxiety Treatment

Sports and performance anxiety often go hand-in-hand. The ability to cope with pressure and anxiety is an integral part of sports, whether among child, collegiate, amateur adult or elite athletes. A certain level of physical arousal is helpful in preparing us to perform. But being unable to regulate your anxiety prior to or during an athletic event can negatively impact your performance as well as your quality of life. Similarly, a certain amount of worry about how you will perform can be helpful in competition, but severe cognitive symptoms of anxiety such as negative thought patterns and expectations of failure can bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy: they can adversely effect your performance, causing you to perform worse in the end.

If there is a substantial difference between how you perform during practice and how you do during competitions, anxiety may be affecting your performance. We offer individualized programs to help you overcome sports performance and competition-related anxiety.


Musical/Theatrical Performance Anxiety

Musical/theatrical performance anxiety or “stage fright” is essentially substantial anxiety or fear that occurs when asked to perform in front of others. Such anxiety may be anticipatory in nature, beginning before the performance, or even when imagining having to perform. In some people, the anxiety may be more pervasive and occur in many social environments. If this is the case, the anxiety may be better diagnosed as social anxiety disorder, or social phobia.


Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason and that triggers severe physical reactions. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying. Other symptoms include racing or pounding heartbeat, chest pains, dizziness/lightheadedness, nausea, difficulty breathing, tingling or numbness in your hands, trembling or shaking, and terror, or a sense that something unimaginably horrible is about to occur.

You may have only one or two panic attacks in your lifetime. But if you have had several panic attacks and experience persistent fear of another attack, you may have a chronic condition called panic disorder.  You may be suffering from panic disorder if you experience frequent, unexpected panic attacks that aren’t tied to a specific situation, worry a lot about having another panic attack, and are behaving differently because of the panic attacks, such as avoiding places where you’ve previously panicked.

If you are experiencing performance related anxiety in the context of taking tests, self-presentation in front of an audience or sports performance or competitions, or if you are experiencing panic attacks or panic disorder, CBT/DBT Associates can help.


To schedule an initial consultation, please complete this form or call us at 212-546-9200.