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Amanda stands up to stress with help of a therapist

Hollywood actress Amanda Seyfried suffers from panic attacks to such a degree that she needed therapy, according to an interview she gave to Glamour magazine recently.

She said: "I'll start worrying about my parents or my dog, and I'll picture him opening the window of my apartment and falling out, even though I can't get that thing open myself."

The star of Mamma Mia! said that public scrutiny of her relationship with Reese Witherspoon's ex-husband Ryan Phillippe had made her anxiety worse, yet therapy has helped her feel calmer in the face of stress.

The actress said: "Therapy has been such a great tool. I still do get terribly nervous, and that's partly due to the fact I think too much and over-analyse things."

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason, and can trigger severe physical reactions.

During a panic attack a sufferer may think they are losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

Many sufferers have only one or two panic attacks in their lifetime. Yet if a person has several panic attacks and spends long periods in constant fear of another attack, then they may have a chronic condition called panic disorder.

But while panic attacks were once dismissed as nerves or stress, they are now recognised as a real medical condition. They can significantly affect a sufferer's quality of life. However, treatment is very effective.

Other actresses who have also spoken about their mental health issues are Brooke Shields, who famously revealed she struggled with postpartum depression, and Sopranos' actress Lorraine Bracco, who discussed being depressed in the '90s. >Anna Coogan