How to Handle Panic Attacks Without Panicking!

A panic attack is an intense episode of sudden fear that occurs when there’s no apparent threat or danger. In some cases, you may mistake the symptoms of a panic attack with a heart attack. It may either be a one-time thing or recurrent. In case of the latter, you may to avoid other people or public places. This may be a sign that you’ve developed a panic disorder.

Symptoms of Panic Attack

A panic attack can occur suddenly and without warning. Its symptoms may come on gradually and peak after about ten minutes. They may include one or more of the following:

  • chest pain
  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • hyperventilating
  • rapid heartbeat
  • feeling faint
  • hot flashes
  • chills
  • shaking
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • tingling or numbness
  • feeling that death is imminent

In some cases, you may develop an overwhelming fear of experiencing another panic attack. This may be a sign that you’ve developed a panic disorder.

Causes of Panic Attacks

Mental health conditions, such as:

  • panic disorder
  • agoraphobia or other phobias
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Stress can also contribute to panic attacks.

How are Panic Attacks Generally Treated?

Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. Generally, doctors prescribe anti-depressants like Zoloft and Benzodiazepine tranquilisers like Xanax.

In some recurrent cases psychotherapy or counselling is advised. Sessions based on the intensity and frequency of attacks are done.

Along with certain lifestyle changes recommended by the physician a patient can overcome panic attacks.

Here are ways how to handle a panic attack:

Use deep breathing

While hyperventilating is a symptom of panic attacks that can increase fear, deep breathing can reduce symptoms of panic during an attack.

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, it will pass, and that you’re OK.

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.

Practice mindfulness or Diversion

  • 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 an object. Pick and object and examine its details carefully.
  • Use muscle relaxation techniques
  • Imagine your happy place in mind. A beach, the clouds, garden, library? Close your eyes, sit back and try to enjoy it.
  • Keep chanting a mantra like, ‘all is well’, ‘this too shall pass’, ‘I’m okay, I’m okay’.

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.

Keep lavender on hand

Lavender is known for being soothing and stress-relieving. It can help your body relax. If you know you’re prone to panic attacks, keep some lavender essential oil on hand and put some on your forearms when you experience a panic attack.

How can panic attacks be prevented?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Most panic attacks are unpredictable. As a result, preventing them can be challenging. a

But you can take some steps to enhance your overall well-being and lower your risk of panic attacks. For example, it’s important to lead an overall healthy lifestyle by:

  • eating a well-balanced diet
  • exercising regularly
  • getting enough sleep
  • taking steps to reduce stress

The Verdict

Overall, there is not one approach that works for everyone. Give different methods a try to determine what works for you. Even though there is not a cure for panic disorder, you can still experience long-term improvements by finding the combination of treatments that is effective for you.

References : Link1 | Link2 | Link3 

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