‘PANIC ATTACK’ is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening.
When panic attacks occurs, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.
Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetime, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you’ve had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called PANIC DISORDER.
Although panic attacks themselves aren’t life-threatening, they can be frightening and significantly affect your quality of life. But treatment can be very effective.
Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without warning. They can strike at any time — when you’re driving a car, at the mall, when you’re soundly sleeping or in the middle of a business meeting. You may have occasional panic attacks, or they may occur frequently.
Panic attacks have many variations, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. You may feel fatigued and worn out after a panic attack subsides.
Panic attacks typically include some of these ;
Sense of impending doom or danger
⚡Fear of loss of control or death
⚡Rapid, pounding heart rate
⚡Trembling or shaking
⚡Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
⚡Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
⚡Numbness or tingling sensation
⚡Feeling of unreality or detachment
One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you’ll have another one. You may fear having panic attacks so much that you avoid certain situations where they may occur.
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Here are 7 strategies you can use to try to stop a panic attack when you’re having one or when you feel one coming on:
1. Use deep breathing
Whilst hyperventilation is a symptom of panic attack that can increase fear, deep breathing can reduce symptoms of panic during an attack. If you’re able to control your breathing, you’re less likely to experience the hyperventilation that can make other symptoms — and the panic attack itself worse.
Focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your mouth, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and belly and then slowly exhale them again. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a second, and then breathe out for a count of four:
2. Recognize that you’re having a panic attack
By recognizing that you’re having a panic attack instead of a heart attack, you can remind yourself that this is temporary, and that you’ll be ok. Take away the fear that you may be dying or that impending doom is looming, both symptoms of panic attacks. This can allow you to focus on other techniques to reduce your symptoms.
3. Close your eyes
Some panic attacks come from triggers that overwhelm you. If you’re in a fast-paced environment with a lot of stimuli, this can feed your panic attack. To reduce the stimuli, close your eyes during your panic attack. This can block out any extra stimuli and make it easier to focus on your breathing.
4. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can help ground you in the reality of what’s around you. Since panic attacks can cause a feeling of detachment or separation from reality, this can combat your panic attack as it’s approaching or actually happening.
Focus on the physical sensations you are familiar with, like digging your feet into the ground, or feeling the texture of your jeans on your hands. These specific sensations ground you firmly in reality and give you something objective to focus on.
5. Use muscle relaxation techniques
Much like deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help stop your panic attack in its tracks by controlling your body’s response as much as possible. Consciously relax one muscle at a time, starting with something simple like the fingers in your hand, and move your way up through your body.
Muscle relaxation techniques will be most effective when you’ve practiced them beforehand.
6. Engage in light exercise
Endorphins keep the blood pumping in exactly the right away. It can help flood our body with endorphins, which can improve our mood. Because you’re stressed, choose light exercise that’s gentle on the body, like walking or swimming.
The exception to this is if you’re hyperventilating or struggling to breathe. Do what you can to catch your breath first.
7. Repeat a mantra internally
Repeating a mantra internally can be relaxing and reassuring, and it can give you something to grasp onto during a panic attack. Whether it’s simply “This too shall pass,” or a mantra that speaks to you personally, repeat it on loop in your head until you feel the panic attack start to subside.
Have you had a panic attack before? If yes, we’ll like to know how it happened and how you dealt with it.